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#6 - JRL 7250
Russia human rights activists blast TVS closure

Moscow, 15 July: A number of prominent Russian public figures, human rights advocates, and journalists have issued a statement saying that the shutdown of TVS television [on 21 June] and other recent developments are endangering the building of a civil society in Russia.

"Irreparable damage has again been inflicted on the fundamental elements of a real democracy - the independence of business and the freedom of information. The elimination of the last non-government federal television channel has been brought to a logical end," reads the statement, which was signed by 28 people.

Among those who signed the statement are International Helsinki Human Rights Federation President Lyudmila Alekseyeva, Moscow chamber of lawyers chairman Genri Reznik, the academic chairman of the Higher School of Economics, Yevgeniy Yasin, journalist Yevgeniya Albats, and others.

"The events of recent days undeniably show that the stabilization declared by the president and government is again giving way under the pressure of individual and group interests of the state authorities," reads the document.

"The elements of civil society that are being built in the country are actively being ousted by so-called controlled democracy, which is being controlled talentlessly and clumsily," the document says.

"Along with glaring violations of the right of equality before the court and the law, which is declared by the constitution, law-enforcement agencies are literally wiping their feet on the presumption of innocence. Under the motto of fighting extremism, they encroach on the right to vote against all. The Federation Council [upper house of the Russian parliament] chairman suggests introducing censorship, calling this the control of information flows. And all this is accompanied by endless incantations about a legal state and the supremacy of law," reads the document.

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