OREANDA-NEWS. It is unacceptable for the Russian authorities to forget about their duties to protect freedom of speech. The Russian student magazine DOXA published such a call from the community of journalists from more than 60 countries on Monday, May 3. More than 200 people signed the open letter, including employees of the publications Süddeutsche Zeitung from Germany, The Guardian from the United Kingdom, The Washington Post from the United States, Le Monde from France, as well as members of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Russia has signed the European Convention on Human Rights, and article 10 of this document guarantees everyone the right to freedom to receive and disseminate information and ideas, the journalists stressed.

Independent media in the country are under serious threat, said the authors of an open letter on World Press Freedom Day. Since Vladimir Putin took office as president, the state has begun to exert «pressure on them ... with the help of legislative restrictions, changes of ownership, fines and criminal cases», the document says. Now the Russian media space is «dominated by media controlled by the state or long-time friends» of Putin, it is further indicated.

Only in recent weeks, relations between independent media and the Russian authorities have been marked by a number of high-profile events. Four DOXA journalists are being investigated for allegedly calling on minors to attend unsanctioned rallies in support of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The Medusa was included in the register of «foreign mass media performing the functions of a foreign agent». Novaya Gazeta and Various Stories released an investigation about the surveillance of special services for it's journalists.

On this day of press freedom, the UN highlighted the importance of information as a public good.