Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Leads Europe In Reporter Killings

A new count shows that Russia leads Europe in the number of journalists killed in homicides and accidents since 1991 and that many of the deaths were politically motivated but largely ignored by law enforcement authorities.

The International Union of Journalists presented on Monday a report that lists 312 homicides and accidents in Russia. On the list are four journalists who died this year, including Anastasia Baburova, a freelance reporter with Novaya Gazeta who was shot dead in central Moscow with human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov on Jan. 19.

In contrast, two journalists have been killed in Germany since 1991, while one journalist has been killed in Britain and no journalists have been killed in France or Italy, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

No suspects have been identified in Baburova's death or in many of the other cases named in the report.

John Crowfoot, editor and author of the report, criticized law enforcement authorities for not doing more to bring the killers to justice.

"There is a group of states which have a persistent problem of impunity. They are Turkey, India, Mexico, Brazil and Russia," Crowfoot said in an interview after a news conference where he presented the report.

"It's important to have independent information, especially if you are doing business," he added.

Crowfoot said at the news conference that reporters and lawyers needed to work more closely with the police and prosecutors.

But no law enforcement officials who were invited to the presentation of the report showed up, said Alexei Simonov, head of the Glasnost Defense Foundation, which helped compile the statistics for the report. "They consider the data that we publish as a product of idiocy," he said with indignation.

Oleg Panfilov, head of the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, which also participated in preparing the report, said several deaths from the 1990s were probably missing from the report, but few if any deaths had escaped observers' notice since 2000.

Among the highest-profile of those deaths were the killing of Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya in her apartment building in 2006 and the shooting death of U.S. reporter Paul Klebnikov outside the offices of Forbes' Russia edition in 2004.

No one has been jailed in either killing, both of which occurred in Moscow.

Moscow is the most dangerous place for journalists in Russia, even more than in relatively unsafe regions like Chechnya, the new report says.

"The ones who are more often being targeted for the work they do are editors of a new paper or web site. They are trying to start something new ... and [are] being targeted," Crowfoot said.