OREANDA-NEWS. A few weeks before the elections in Russia, the human rights organization «Reporters Without Borders» (RSF) sharply criticized the increasing pressure of the authorities on independent media in this country. The updated report on the situation with freedom of speech in the world, published on Tuesday, August 31, states the lack of genuine media freedom in Russia.

The document notes that in recent months alone, at least five critical online publications have been closed in Russia. More and more mass media in Russia are arbitrarily declared «foreign agents», RSF notes, citing the «Dozhd» TV channel and the «Medusa» as examples.
«Reporters Without Borders» notes that foreign correspondents in Russia can feel calm only as long as they do not criticize the ruling regime too much. In confirmation of this, RSF cites the expulsion of BBC correspondent Sarah Rainsford from Russia.

«Reporters Without Borders» emphasizes the important role of independent media in the conduct of elections. «Without independent mass media that report on the real situation in Russian society, elections lose their meaning. If it is forbidden to report on political alternatives and public problems and publicly discuss them, then any imaginary elections will reflect only a distorted perception of those in power, and not the will of the people», explained Christian Mihr, head of the German branch of the RFS.

He called on the governments of democratic countries to protect the fundamental right to freedom of speech in the strongest possible way when building future relations with Russia.