Final Word from Monday, July 12, 2004

The Russian-based Glasnost foundation said that 68 journalists have met with a violent death in Russia since 2000, when Vladimir Putin came to power. The killing on Fri. of the editor of the Russian edition of Forbes, Paul Klebnikov, was the latest murder. There have been two prominent attacks against Czech journalists in recent years - the plot to kill Sabina Slonková of MFD (now HN), and the beating of Tomáš Němeček of Respekt. The techniques for muzzling journalists are more civilized here than in Russia. Advertising budgets, not guns, are the preferred weapon. Some companies reward compliant media organizations with ad money and withhold funds from troublemakers. Publishers are co-conspirators and often put business interests before sound reporting. Czech journalists who won't play ball need to fear censorship, but usually not a shot in the chest.


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