- Russian MPs have voted to impose severe restrictions
on the media's coverage of future anti-terrorist operations in a move designed
to prevent a repeat of criticism following the Moscow theatre siege last
- It is the latest in a series of blows to freedom of speech
in Russia and was attacked yesterday by journalists and international watchdogs.
- The new law makes it illegal to broadcast or publish
opinions calling for a negotiated settlement to a crisis or to sympathise
with the terrorists' cause.
- The law proscribes "serving propaganda or justifying
extremist activities, including statements of people trying to stop an
anti-terrorist operation and justification of such opposition".
- It also prohibits publishing information about the arms,
explosives, ammunition and equipment used in anti-terrorist operations.
This clause could have been used to bar reports about the use of a knock-out
gas by special forces last month which killed 126 of the 800 hostages in
- Once the necessary amendments to the present media law
are signed by President Vladimir Putin they will come into force. Journalists
fear that the new law will give the government carte blanche to stamp on
coverage deemed critical.