Russian activists propose BRICS-based group for protection of journalists

© Mikhail Voskresenskiy
A senior member of Russia’s Public Chamber has proposed a new international body for the protection of journalists’ rights, promising to forward the official document describing the group to civil society institutes of BRICS nations.

Today we have to agree that the facts of political pressure on mass media become more frequent in the modern world,” the chair of the Public Chamber commission for people’s diplomacy and support of Russian diasporas abroad, Yelena Sutormina, told RIA Novosti.

Because of this, we intend to create a new international body for protection of journalists’ rights. In our opinion, such an institute could be created on the basis of BRICS. In the nearest future we are going to send our proposal to leading civil society institutes of this bloc’s member-countries,” Sutormina added.

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She also mentioned several recent incidents in which the rights of journalists were violated, such as the detention of News Front reporters in Kosovo, the barring of REN-TV journalists from entering Moldova, the blocking of Sputnik news agency websites in Turkey and Latvia, and also the official broadcasting ban on several Russian TV channels in Baltic countries.

Sutormina noted that after each of these cases, the Russian Public Chamber and the Russian Peace Foundation officially addressed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the United Nations and other major organizations, but only received formal and very ambiguous answers with no subsequent actions. “No constructive reaction followed from them,” she said.

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Russia’s Public Chamber was created as a state institution with consultative powers in 2005. Its deputies work in 17 different committees and analyze draft legislation and monitor the activities of the legislative and executive bodies of power. Well-known public figures, human rights activists, cultural figures and journalists work in the chamber.

BRICS is the economic and political association uniting Brazil, Russia, India, China and the South African Republic – nations with similar “emerging” economies. So far, the member-countries have agreed to create a common bank, a joint system of financial reserves and, more recently, an international payment system alternative to SWIFT.