A Mass Grave for Journalists and Journalism?

"A dirty word!" Central District, Petersburg, July 18, 2016. Photo by the Russian Reader
“A dirty word!” Central District, Petersburg, July 18, 2016. Photo by the Russian Reader

Moscow. July 20. Interfax.Ru. Official Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has commented on the death of journalist Pavel Sheremet in Kiev.

“A car in which Pavel Sheremet was located has exploded in Kiev. [He was] a professional unafraid to speak his mind to power, to different regimes at different times. Ukraine (not the country, but the system) has become a mass grave for journalists and journalism,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

As if Russia itself weren’t a “mass grave for journalists and journalism.” It takes a lot of the wrong kind of chutzpah to lie and gangbang the truth like these blood monkeys do every single day of their lives.

And Ms. Zakharova’s unspoken implication that Russia, unlike Ukraine, is a “system” that encourages “telling truth to power” is really beyond perverse.

Let us take a tiny peak into the mass grave for journalists and journalism mighty Russia has dug over the past couple of decades.

In 2009, the International Federation of Journalists and the Russian Union of Journalist issued a report, entitled Partial Justice, “to gather evidence surrounding the 300 deaths and disappearances of journalists in Russia between 1993 and 2009.”

When it comes to media freedom more generally, Russia has also been going downhill on a trolley with no brakes over the past decade, and things are bound to get worse with the recent passage into law of the so-called Yarovaya package, which cracks down on individual privacy, privacy of correspondence and communication, freedom of speech, the right not to rat on one’s friends and acquaintances, the ability to speak one’s mind freely to power on social media, and lots of other things.

So what was Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zakharova crowing about? She was actually celebrating Pavel Sheremet’s death by pretending to speak from a place where such violence against journalists and journalism is impossible and unthinkable. But we all know that is a bald-faced lie, and she knows it too.

Why couldn’t she just keep her mouth shut? Isn’t that what the Russian government wants its subjects to do from now until kingdom come anyway? Why can’t the powers that be here also practice some tactful silence now and then?

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