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Real public servants are free enterprising individuals who, inspired, embrace challenge, take risks, and create, sometimes big, and often, they create jobs in the process, all out of their ideas, and self initiative...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The High Price of Journalism in Putin's Russia Five of my colleagues at Novaya Gazeta have been murdered. No one has been brought to justice.

By ELENA MILASHINA

Moscow

As a journalist for Russia's leading independent newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, I have been lucky. For over a decade I've had the privilege to report extensively on dramatic current events in my country—including in Chechnya and other turbulent North Caucasus republics.

But press freedom is gradually becoming extinct in my country. In the past week alone, two reporters were brutally beaten because of their commitment to honest journalism. Novaya Gazeta has miraculously kept afloat—escaping governmental control, refusing self-censorship, and telling stories from the point of view of ordinary citizens.

Yet we have paid a heavy price for our independence. Over the past 10 years, five of Novaya Gazeta's journalists have been murdered. One of the victims was our star correspondent and my mentor, Anna Politkovskaya, who was assassinated in 2006 after tirelessly exposing brutal human-rights violations in Chechnya.Click here to read more.
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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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