Russian reporter Mikhail Beketov, who lost a leg and three fingers to unidentified assailants in 2008, suffered one of many attacks connected to a controversial development project in Khimki Forest.
Mr. Beketov, who lost a leg and three fingers in the attack, was ordered to pay 5,000 roubles (about $160) in damages for slandering Khimki Mayor Vladimir Strelchenko, the very official whom he had publicly accused of corruption and plotting violence against him.
Russia's journalistic community reacted with shock and outrage. Many are describing it as a through-the-looking-glass moment that defines the true nature of their country's justice system. Russian law enforcement has failed to solve any of the 19 murders and scores of beatings of journalists in recent years, but can unerringly obtain satisfaction for an official who feels his reputation has been tarnished by a reporter's work.
"That's the formula for how the whole country functions," says Alexei Simonov, president of the Glasnost Defense Foundation, an independent media watchdog that compiles reports on abuses against journalists. "The honor of an official is priced much higher than the life of a journalist. And everything, from top to bottom, works like that."
Page 1 of 4