Russians Rally for Free Press
Hundreds of liberal and radical party activists rallied in Moscow on Sunday, demanding greater press freedom and more access to the country’s state-dominated television networks, The Associated Press reported.
Yabloko party leader Grigory Yavlinsky told protesters wearing masks reading “Shut Off” and carrying signs reading “News Is Propaganda” and “Down With Censorship!” that Russia has no freedom of the press. “The freedom of the press is not the freedom of propaganda or pornography. It is the freedom to discuss the hardest questions and to find answers,” Yavlinsky told the rally at the Ostankino broadcasting tower.
Many of those at the protest, which included communists and activists from the radical National Bolshevik Party, wore orange T-shirts in a nod to Ukraine’s pro-democracy Orange Revolution and posters showing jailed Yukos oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Critics have accused President Vladimir Putin of cracking down on freedom of speech since he came to power in 2000 and of shutting down television stations whose reporting was critical of the government.