Media Censorship Grows In Ingushetia

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 5 Issue: 16

The April 15 issue of Novaya gazeta included a long article by Anna Politkovskaya about the deteriorating situation in Ingushetia, including Soviet-style censorship of the local mass media. She found that the media do not publish one word about kidnappings and other extra-judicial punishments. A reporter for one of Ingushetia’s two leading newspapers told her that he would be unable to get a job “even as a tractor driver” if he were to write about such things.

On condition of anonymity, that journalist said that Issa Merzhoev, press secretary for Ingushetia’s president, Murat Zyazikov, personally reviews all newspapers and TV or radio news programs before publication or broadcast and has them “remove all material which he considers harmful.” Thus, for example, the only articles about the war in Chechnya that are permitted are those that describe the annihilation of rebel guerrillas and the so-called “voluntary return” of refugees from Ingushetia to Chechnya.