Moscow, 30 January 2001 (RFE/RL) -- A Moscow court today ordered independent NTV to retract reports it has broadcast alleging that Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov had not paid taxes for a luxury apartment received from the government. The ruling requires the station and its general director and chief news presenter Yevgeny Kiselyov to apologize for the reports aired in July and September which Ustinov said attacked his honor and dignity.
Kiselyov told reporters outside the courthouse that the court is trying to prevent the station from performing investigative journalism. He said:
"The court says that journalists have no right to make moral judgements about the actions of the heads of the prosecutor's office. In other words, they are trying to prevent us from doing it."
The NTV reports questioned whether Ustinov had paid taxes on an apartment received from the Kremlin property department and called his independence into doubt.