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Off Limits to Journalists

Russia -- Emergency rescue operation at Raspadskaya mine, Mezhdurechensk, Kemerovo region, 11May2010
Journalists attempt to covering the explosion at Russia's Raspadskaya Coal Company have been denied access to the premises on safety grounds, RFE/RL's Russian service reports. The confrontation is caught on video here. When an RFE/RL correspondent asked several miners at the Mezhdurechensk site about recent government statements about the accident, the mining company's security guards interrupted the conversation and said they were under orders from the general director to prevent journalists from coming near the plant.

In addition, Boris Levko, an employee at the mine who recently spoke with RFE/RL about the explosion, has said that he was summoned afterward by members of the mine's security service, who questioned him about the interview and asked why he "told lies." Evidently anticipating reprisals, Levko told RFE/RL that he is not afraid to loose his job.

Russia's official media failed to provide truthful coverage of the tragedy and to report on protests that followed by survivors demonstrating against the government's response. The Chrisitan Science Monitor's Fred Weir reports here.

A slide show of the tragedy at Raspadskaya is here.