Accessibility links

Breaking News

Blame the Messenger

Russia -- Flowers lay in memory of victims of a terrorist bomb blast inside the Lubyanka metro station in Moscow, 29Mar2010
The March 29 terrorist attacks in Moscow have led to criticisms of Russian media organizations and journalists that covered and commented on the events. Vladimir Kara-Murza writes that Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov has accused the newspaper Vedomosti and Moskovskii Komsomolets columnist Alexander Minkin of being terrorist accomplices. Both have written critically about Kremlin policies in the North Caucasus. Kara-Murza writes that in a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Gryzlov spoke about “the connection between the publications and the terrorists' actions.”

In an interview with RFE/RL's Russian service, Minkin said that the deputies always blame the journalists. "[The deputies] always say the same thing. Airplanes, they say, crash, because journalists write about it. They don’t know how to take responsibility themselves, and so they try and put it on the journalists. It’s shameful to act this way in my view."

He was commenting on statements made by the Duma Security Committee chairman Vladimir Vasilev, who criticized the Russian mass media earlier this week for its coverage of the terrorist attacks. Speaking to the plenary, Vasilev said that while the Russian media is improving, “there are sick, divisive people who have the means to broadcast to the whole country. And this is impermissible.” He went on to say that either the media will deal with these elements itself, or legislation will be drawn up. However, he did not name specific media outlets or journalists.

Vasilev’s criticisms came several days after the presentation of a bill to the lower house by deputy Robert Shlegel (United Russia) which would criminalize quoting any persons who are wanted or convicted in connection with terrorist activities.