Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Danger of Telling the Truth

"“People sometimes pay with their lives for saying out loud what they think. People can even get killed just for giving me information. I am not the only one in danger. I have examples that prove it.”Anna Politkovskaya

Report: Russian reporter dead, police think she was murdered

MOSCOW (CNN) -- A Russian newspaper reporter who has criticized Russia's Chechnya policy has died and police think she was murdered, a Russian news agency reported Saturday.

Interfax reported the death of Anna Politkovskaya, who worked for Novaya Gazeta. A neighbor found her wounded by a bullet late Saturday afternoon in her building's elevator.

A handgun and four cartridge cases were also found.

Dmitry Muratov, the newspaper editor, theorized that she was being punished for stories. A law enforcement source said a young man might have been involved in the incident and police were looking for him. (Posted 10:55 a.m.)

2003 Time Europe Magazine Hero

Mighty Pen: Politkovskaya braves the hell of Chechnya to get the truth
Disquiet On The Chechen Front

Anna Politkovskaya, a correspondent for the Moscow biweekly Novaya Gazeta, was in Los Angeles last October, picking out her dress for a media awards ceremony, when some staggering news came from Moscow: Chechen terrorists were holding 850 hostages in a theater. The Russian authorities tried to send in negotiators, but the Chechens refused to see most of them. They asked for Politkovskaya.
And so Politkovskaya rushed back to cover yet another episode of one of the world's nastiest and longest wars, which this time had shifted to Moscow. The terrorists, she says, "wanted someone who would accurately report things as they were. My work in Chechnya makes people there feel that I don't lie. But there wasn't much I could do for the hostages anyway." She carried water and fruit juice to them, and reported their dejection and feelings of doom to the world. Two days later, Russian special forces stormed and gassed the theater, killing 41 terrorists and 129 hostages.
Politkovskaya, 44, made her name by writing detailed, accurate and vivid reports on the plight of the civilian population in Chechnya, caught in the horrors of war since 1994. She tells stories of people who are taken from their homes at night and never come back; about extrajudicial executions; about the hungry refugees in cold and damp camps. "It was the refugee problem that started it," she now recalls. When the second Chechen war began in 1999, tens of thousands of refugees began flooding the makeshift relief camps. "It was horrible to stand among the refugees in the field in October 1999, and see cruise missiles flying over your head," she recalls.
When those missiles hit a market in Grozny, it was only prompt coverage by journalists like Politkovskaya that forced the Russian commanders to let ambulances in and refugees out. "Our work is a lever to help people as much as we can," she believes. But it also causes trouble. In February 2000, the FSB (the former KGB) arrested Politkovskaya in the Vedeno district of Chechnya. They kept her in a pit for three days without food or water. "It was important not to let them kill me on the first day," she says. A year later, a Russian officer whose war crimes Politkovskaya had exposed threatened to kill her. Novaya Gazeta had to hide her in Austria for a while. The officer is now awaiting trial on charges of war crimes committed in Chechnya that Politkovskaya was the first to report. "But I don't feel victorious," she says. "I only feel that we're all involved in a great tragedy."
Her editors have had to stand up to pressure from the Kremlin, which is often infuriated by her reporting. Novaya Gazeta balances on the brink of forcible closure. "Well, it goes with the job," she shrugs. Politkovskaya has long since learned to keep her anxieties in check. As she arranges yet another trip to Chechnya, she may now be too famous to be targeted by the FSB. But she really doesn't think about such things. "If you don't have the strength to control your emotions, you're of no help to the people who are in such shock and pain. You only add to their burden," she says.
©TIME. Published April 28, 2003

FreakSpeaker Note:
During the September tragedy in Beslan, award-winning journalist Anna Politkovskaya, while attempting to report and mediate in the crisis, was silenced by what has become known as the Kremlin's poison politics. After her recovery, Politkovskaya continued to report on human atrocities in the war-torn region and speak on behalf of the thousands of victims of Russia's 10 year campaign in Chechnya. In her first visit to the United States since Beslan, Politkovskaya discussed the upsurge in civilian casualties and Vladimir Putin's unequivocal drive toward authoritarianism. As the West is reconsidering its rapprochement with Russia, commentator Dr. Michael McFaul, Senior Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, addressed the Kremlin's post-Beslan policies, growing public discontent with the Putin administration, and the implications and opportunities for U.S. policy.

Hear her speech HERE

2 German journalists killed overnight in northern Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Two German journalists traveling in northern Afghanistan were killed overnight, Afghanistan's Interior Ministry and NATO's International Security Assistance Force said Saturday.

They were working for German news agency Deutsche Welle. The two -- who were on a road between Baghlan and Bamian province -- were killed by gunmen in Baghlan, said Zemari Bashary, Interior spokesman.

They had been spending the night in a tent by the road when they were killed around 1 a.m. Saturday. The location is north of the capital, Kabul.

Maj. Dominic Whyte, an ISAF spokesman, said they were operating independently of ISAF at the time of the incident.

It is not clear whether the perpetrators were Taliban, other militants or thieves. The area is not known for Taliban activity. But it does have some level of activity from a militant group called Hezb-e-Islami, led by Gulbeddin Hekmatyar, a renegade warlord. (Posted 10:20 a.m.)

2 comentarios:

courtney01 said...

Thank you for the additions to my post, Christiane.

ivy said...

I'll be honest --I'm shocked Politkovskaya was killed-- very sad news. Surprising? -- no. She was such a great journalist, a rare kind who had guts to speak out when every body was afraid to name things what they were. She did reports and commentary for TV also a long time ago. I remember her reports from way back, before chechen war -- I had a great respect for her honesty and courage. She was without doubt one of the most noticable journalists in Russia and since the chechen war started authorities had campaigns to discredit her and accused her of being a terrorist propaganda tool and so on. She endured a lot and tried tell what she saw and to bring information that was not fed by the government. Very tragic that she died so young. For the lst 6 years Novaja gazeta had another 2 journalists attacked and another one died "from allergic reacton" but it's suspected he was poisoned


Don't think for me. Don't assume what I want to hear or read. Give me facts. Give me reasons. But not yours. Bring me debate. Enlighten me. Today, accountability is masked behind anonymity; bylines are hidden by zeros and ones. Everyone publishes; everyone is "in the know." Ethics are non-existent. Speculation is king. The truth is masked and a hostage. Empowered by our minds, WE ARE THE FREAKSPEAKERS!


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