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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Russians Mourn the Loss of Free Press

Putin enjoys a "cuppa," while this flattering photo of him is taken by the free press privileges of the BBC. Photo courtesy of the BBC.

In Russia, the people silently mourn the murder of their democracy at the hands of President Vladimir Putin. After the killing of beloved Russian journalist, Anna Politkovskaya in 2006, the International Herald Tribune put it this way:
I am convinced that her killer was, first and foremost, the paucity of freedoms in Russia. The lack of freedom killed freedom - this is where the sad logic of her killing comes from, no matter who is behind it.

Lack of freedom spawns lawlessness: Russia has fostered numerous vindictive, unpunished people indignant that someone dares to point a finger at them and to say that their actions are criminal. At the same time, authoritarian power always fragments into clans, and the accusations of an independent journalist can be a priceless weapon in the battle of clans or for the liquidation of political rivals.
And then this:
Hundreds of people who came to say farewell to Anna looked not only crushed, but also helpless. The mourners were shown their real place, as people without rights, who will be told only what the authorities want them to know.
And this:: least twelve journalists have been killed in contract-style slayings. No one has been brought to justice in eleven of the twelve cases.
And another important piece on how unattended freedom is killing freedom in Russia.

For thoughts on Venezuelans fighting in their streets for free press, read: how Danny Glover and Hugo Chavez give a "nose-thumb" to freedom.

This a day to remember just how precious are our freedoms and to fiercely battle back against those who would hastily feed the gators, hoping they will eat him last.

A closing thought on how we make freedom ours:
You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free. Clarence Darrow

Cross-posted from Maggie's Notebook