Medvedev Pressed on Reporters

The Committee to Protect Journalists on Friday urged President Dmitry Medvedev to allow several foreign reporters barred from the country to return to work in Russia.

The New York-based organization sent a letter to Medvedev protesting the exclusion of freelance journalist Simon Pirani and Thomas de Waal of the Institute for War and Peace reporting, both of whom are British, and a Moldovan journalist, Natalya Morar, or the Moscow-based weekly news magazine The New Times. The authorities have denied them entry to the country for the past two years, citing security reasons.

Pirani has written on the subject of the intimidation of trade unions and civil rights groups by law enforcement agencies, Morar has written about money-laundering schemes involving government officials, while de Waal has written on the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and security in the Caucasus.

"We would like to respectfully remind you of the commitment to press freedom that you stated upon your inauguration," the letter said.

According to the Moscow-based Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, since 2000 more than 40 journalists have either been denied entry to or have been deported from Russia.