Home > News > World
Monday April 14, 2014 MYT 1:00:02 AM
Monday April 14, 2014 MYT 1:01:18 AM
MOSCOW (Reuters) - About 5,000 Russians, some waving Ukrainian flags, rallied in central Moscow on Sunday to protest at what they say is a government crackdown on independent media intended to stifle debate about the crisis in Ukraine.
In the past few weeks, Russia has removed the long-time editor of a popular Russian Internet news site Lenta.ru and taken an independent television channel off air.
The Kremlin denies allegations of censorship or pressure on the media. Most Russians support the Kremlin's policy on Ukraine and the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula has significantly boosted public approval ratings of President Vladimir Putin, polls indicate.
Protesters at the heavily policed rally listened to speeches from activists, decrying state control of the media.
"Russia's main problem at the moment is lying, a problem leading to war in Ukraine, (and) the isolation of Russia from the rest of the world," said Igor Yakovenko, the former head of Russia's Union of Journalists, who helped to organise the protest.
The crisis in Ukraine has led to the most serious standoff between Russia and the West in decades. Both sides accuse each other of manipulating the news for political ends.
In March, Russia blocked access to the blogs of prominent Kremlin foes Alexei Navalny and Garry Kasparov and other Internet sites that have become platforms for opposition voices.
The move followed the enactment of a law allowing prosecutors to order providers to block access to sites deemed to have published calls for participation in demonstrations planned without the consent of the government.
At Sunday's rally, protester Ekaterina Maldonko said the media atmosphere in Russia was reminiscent of the country's Communist totalitarian past.
"I'm here to protest against the rapid return of 1937, against censorship, (and) endless lies from our zombie-box (television). I also want to express my support for the heroes of Ukraine," Maldonko said.
Her mention of 1937 was a reference to the height of purges by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin who during his long rule sent of millions of people to their deaths.
(Reporting by Alexander Reshetnikov; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Stephen Powell)
Syria extends offensive to retake territory in west
France train attack hero Stone stabbed in California
Guinea president says weekend election to proceed
U.N. to audit its dealings with entities tied to alleged bribe scheme
No quick fix for latest 'wave of terror' - Israel's Netanyahu
Pope Francis, anti-nuclear activists among Nobel Peace Prize contenders
Resort in Lumut makes for a great weekend getaway
Negotiators honoured at annual National Real Estate Awards
Dell looks to EMC deal to boost corporate presence
Copyright © 1995-2015 Star Media Group Berhad (ROC 10894D)(Formerly known as Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad)