More than thirty journalists were killed in a short-lived war between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. More than eighty journalists have been killed in the war unleashed by Russia in Ukraine, many of them Critics of Vladimir Putin, who picks up dubious awards based on press harassment. In Mexico and so far this year, fifteen journalists have been murdered for what they said or wrote; Four others were in open robbery cases. Last year, eighty-six journalists were murdered around the world, forty-four, more than half, in Latin America. This number hides two important facts: the number of journalists killed in countries with declared conflicts has increased, while on the other hand, according to United Nations statistics, the number of journalists killed in countries without conflicts has doubled. The same study says 86 percent of murders go unpunished.
The press is under fire. Today, when it takes place at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, these statistics will be updated, revised and augmented. Ten years have passed since the United Nations was founded after the kidnapping and murder of French journalists Ghislaine Dupont And Claude Verlon By Al Qaeda in Mali. The reason, at least, is that murders are punished, while restrictions on the press suffer, including threats and assaults and threats, harassment, attempted murders and forced deportations.
Women journalists are the most affected by these attacks, according to the UNESCO study, “The Chilling: Global Trends in Online Violence Against Women Journalists.” 73 percent of female journalists surveyed said they had been threatened, intimidated or insulted online for what they reported or thought.
Three women, three Russians, three critics of Putin, It was reported last year that they had been poisoned Germany, Czech Republic and Georgia, Russia. Elena Kostyuchenko, a journalist of “Novaya Gazeta” magazine, is an example of the most daring and aggressive attack on Putin’s press. Kostyuchenko, a defender of the rights of LGBT activism, was beaten and arrested for marching in a gay pride demonstration in Moscow in 2011, covered part of the war in Ukraine in 2021 and condemned war crimes against civilians, kidnappings and torture of Russian soldiers. .
A few days after he filed his complaint, given Kostyuchenko’s decision to move to another part of Ukraine, Dmitry Muratov, director of Novaya Gazeta, warned him: “They already know here that you are going to Mariupol. And they tell me that they ordered to find you. They are not going to stop you. They are going to kill you. Everything is already arranged. Muratov was advised not to leave Ukraine and return to Russia. Kostyuchenko then moved to Berlin and began sending reports to the online media “Medusa”. In the German capital he began to feel worse: “I had heavy sweating, mental confusion and strong body odor. One morning I woke up with a severe stomach ache. The room was spinning and I couldn’t walk to the bathroom and vomited. My body was swollen and there was blood in my urine.. His blood tests returned crazy parameters, and the German police ordered new tests to detect some toxicity. They could not determine what caused Kostyuchenko’s illness and advised him not to work more than two hours a day. German prosecutors have opened an investigation into the attempted murder.
Shortly after the war in Ukraine began, the Russian parliament, the Duma, passed a new law punishing anyone who publishes false information, according to the Kremlin, or reports that contradict the official version of the war. Finally, in March last year, Muratov had to suspend the publication of “Novaya Gazeta” forced by the Putin regime And given the newspaper’s critical stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The previous year, Muratov won the Nobel Peace Prize along with Filipina Maria Ressa “for their efforts to protect freedom of expression as a condition for democracy and lasting peace.” The new Russian law forced CNN, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to withdraw their correspondents in Russia.
Two prestigious Russian journalists, Irina Babloyan and Natalia Arno, suffer from the same enigmatic Kostyuchenko disease. In October 2022, Pabloyan also experienced dizziness, weakness and a strange metallic taste in his mouth. He lived in Joseph Stalin’s homeland of Georgia, an exile in that republic and far from the tentacles of the Kremlin. Or at least I thought so. Symptoms include sudden flushing of the hands, severe abdominal pain, nausea and insomnia, along with dizziness and weakness. Some of those symptoms disappeared within days, but he still suffers from sudden reddening of the skin. At the end of the year, Pabloyan went to Berlin with the intention of having his blood analyzed for toxins. But after a few days of extraction, Doctors told him his blood samples were “lost”.
Natalia Arno, director of the Free Russia Foundation, has long been, and still is, a staunch critic of the Kremlin and Putin. Traveling in Prague, he returned to his hotel to find the door open and a strange smell in the air. The next morning he woke up with a severe pain in his mouth that spread all over his body. Doctors expressed concern Eventually Arno’s body contains a nerve agent, From those classified in the “Novichok” branch, which Putin and Russia have previously used, they may have been accused of poisoning in other incidents.
“Novichok” is a nerve agent, a highly lethal neurotoxin that paralyzes muscles and causes severe damage to the nervous system. Depending on the degree to which the victim is exposed. Symptoms may appear within thirty seconds to two minutes; Pupils are constricted, convulsions, salivation and even respiratory failure occur. One of its creators, in the USSR in the 70s and 80s of the last century, was the Russian chemist Leonid Ring, who combined two very important elements in his work: Cannot be detected by standard methods And it is easy and safe to handle and transport.
with that nerve agent Putin tried to kill his opponent, Alexei Navalny, poisoning in Siberia in 2020. He was transferred two days later to the Charité Hospital in Berlin, where his life was saved. He returned to Russia in January 2021 and was arrested at the border. He was convicted and sentenced to nine years in prison on charges of “fraud and contempt of the Russian courts”. The whole world is judging this trial to be a sham. Navalny published an investigation: “Putin’s palace: the story of the biggest bribe”, about the property the president of the Russian Federation built on the shores of the Black Sea in Gelendzhik.
Putin scares with Novichok, or kills Polonius, a radioactive element discovered in uranium by Marie Curie at the beginning of the last century. Curie, born Maria Skłodowska, was from Poland and was not allowed to attend university in her homeland because she was a woman. He did it in Paris, where he did his research. He named this new element, found in uranium polonium, after his home country. Putin manages it in sufficient quantities to eliminate his opponents. Polonium killed ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko in 2006; The minimum amount that can be efficiently placed in a cup of tea.
Assassination of journalists, if the Kremlin wanted to, could not be so subtle. Like Oksana Paulina, who covered the war in Ukraine for the portal “The Insider”, from Q, from the side of the invaders, was not silent in criticizing Putin’s regime. On March 23, 2022, a missile hit the white van in which Paulina was traveling to a shopping center in Retroville., thirteen kilometers from the center of Q, was attacked by Russian forces a few days ago. Investigators believe the drone that so accurately delivered the projectile that killed Paulina first found the journalist’s mobile phone.
The Long List of Murdered Press Men and Women combines a broad list of tycoons, businessmen, entrepreneurs and soldiers who have died in recent years under strange circumstances, including the death of Maxim Borodin in 2018. He fell from the balcony of his apartment in Sverdlovsk, without anyone explaining how. He had reported the presence of Russian mercenaries in Syria.
Those silent voices, those silenced by fear, censored or imprisoned or exiled, will speak today when the United Nations issues a new statement at OAS headquarters and issues a new call for International Day. Impunity for crimes against journalists.
Maybe it’s time to ask for something more than impunity.
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