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CPJ Urges Moscow to Revoke Ban on IWPR Editor

A media advocacy group has appealed to Russia to lift bans imposed on several journalists wishing to visit the country, including IWPR’s Tom de Waal.
On September 26, the New-York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ, wrote to Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, expressing concern at the country’s recent denial of entry to a number of international journalists who have worked in the country regularly.

“We are especially concerned that Russian authorities have used a law that implies the journalists represent a threat to the country, but gives no explanation as to how,” said CPJ executive director Joel Simon.

The letter said that among those international journalists recently denied entry is British journalist Thomas de Waal, Caucasus editor with the Institute for War & Peace Reporting.

“In July 2006, the Federation Migration Service in Moscow denied de Waal’s application for a Russian visa, citing [a] security law. De Waal had been invited to Moscow to present his book on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at the Russian Union of Journalists,” said Simon in the letter.

“As an independent, international, non-partisan advocacy group that defends the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal, we are concerned by the ongoing invocation of ‘security’ as a reason to keep journalists from entering the country.

“We have defended and will continue to defend Russian journalists in similar circumstances. We remain hopeful that you would use the authority of your high office to ensure that Simon Pirani, Natalya Morar, Thomas de Waal, and all other international journalists are allowed to travel to and work in Russia.”

Simon also noted that according to statistics from the Moscow-based press freedom group Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, more than 40 journalists have either been denied entry to or have been deported from Russia since 2000.

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