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Russian Authorities 'Harassing' Journalists Covering Case Against Prokopyeva

Svetlana Prokopyeva
Svetlana Prokopyeva

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is calling on Russian authorities to “stop harassing” reporters covering the terrorism case against journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva.

Prokopyeva’s prosecution and “the intimidation and harassment of journalists reporting on her case shows how far Russian authorities will go to silence independent voices,” Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, said in a statement on October 4.

The New York-based media freedom watchdog made the call a day after the Pskov branch of the Investigative Committee summoned Maksim Kostikov, the editor in chief of the local Ekho Moskvy affiliate, and Aleksandr Savenko, the editor of independent news website Pskovskaya Lenta Novostey, according to Novaya Gazeta.

Savenko told the independent daily that he could not elaborate on the content of the interrogation because of a nondisclosure agreement he had signed with police.

The move came after the two outlets recently published an open letter in which Prokopyeva described the charges against her as "the murder of freedom of speech."

The letter was published in dozens of other outlets, including RFE/RL.

Prokopyeva, a prominent journalist from Pskov who is a freelance contributor for RFE/RL's Russian Service, faces up to 7 years in prison on charges of "justifying terrorism" in comments made during a 2018 Ekho Moskvy broadcast.

She denies the charge, and her case has drawn criticism from rights and media watchdogs.

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