Voices from Russia

Monday, 19 May 2008

American Journalist Urges her Colleagues to Protect the First Amendment

Filed under: politics,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

Toni Locy, former USA Today reporter facing unjust contempt of court charges

A former USA Today reporter faces fines for refusing to disclose her sources for stories about 2001 terrorist attacks has urged US news organisations to stand up for the protection of the First Amendment in the US Constitution. Ms Toni Locy, who was a reporter for USA Today, told a coalition of open-government and press groups in Philadelphia last week that “the news business is on a collective nervous breakdown. It’s time to stop running, it’s time to turn and fight”, she told her colleagues assembled at the annual convention of the National Freedom of Information Coalition. “If we don’t fight for the First Amendment, who will?” Ms Locy said the country needs a shield law that would protect reporters from having to reveal their sources. “In this environment that we’re in now”, she said, the First Amendment “needs some help”.

The former USA Today reporter, who currently teaches journalist at West Virginia University, is appealing an order from a US District Judge that requires her to pay as much as 5,000 US dollars (118,592 roubles. 3,197 euros. 2,546 UK pounds) a day in fines until she gives up her sources for stories about the government’s investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States. No one was ever charged in the anthrax attacks, which killed five people and sickened 17 others, and the case remains unsolved. Most American states recognise some sort of common-law privilege protecting the confidentiality of reporters’ relationships with their sources, but, apparently, lawyers for Ms Locy, now facing a contempt citation in court, had not asserted that privilege forcefully enough.

Ms Locy’s case is reminiscent of an earlier event involving Judith Miller, an author and Pulitzer Prize-winning former investigative reporter for the New York Times, who had spent 85 days in jail in 2005 for contempt of court for refusing to testify, thus claiming to defend a reporter’s right to protect confidential sources. Since leaving jail and parting with the New York Times in that same year, she has advocated the enactment of a Federal “shield” law to protect the relationship between reporters and their sources and the public’s right to know. A federal shield law passed the House of Representatives last year by a veto-proof margin. But, the White House has since mounted a spirited effort to defeat the proposal. With the stiff opposition from the White House, prospects for the measure in the Senate, however, are uncertain. The measure is reportedly likely to face a filibuster on the Senate floor, with 60 votes needed for passage.

13 May 2008

Yuri Reshetnikov

Voice of Russia World Service



Most Russians Oppose Confrontation with the West

Filed under: Dmitri Medvedev,politics,Russian,Vladimir Putin — 01varvara @ 00.00

President Dmitri Medvedev (1965- )

Now that Dmitri Medvedev is sworn in as our new President, the political course of Russia shall certainly undergo some changes. However, the priorities remain the same. Russia shall continue to defend its interests, develop its social sector, and establish democratic economic relations with its partners. Mr Medvedev is a politician who comes out of a brand-new political élite; he is guided by a new system of values and has a new conception of the role of Russia as a global player. Apparently, Mr Medvedev will use a distinct approach to solve key problems in Russian society.

Most experts tend to think that Russian relations with the West shall become more balanced under Medvedev. According to a recent opinion poll, a third of all Russians share this opinion. They expect Mr Medvedev to carry out a flexible foreign policy, whilst at the same time, they expect him to defend Russian national interests. Most Russians are against a discordant confrontation with the West. Political analyst Denis Dragunsky thinks that the newly-elected President shall take the results of the survey into consideration before making any steps in this direction. “Under President Medvedev, Russia is expected to pay more attention to cooperation with the West, since Russia itself is a part of Europe. Since the 10th century, Russia has been considered a constituent part of Europe. We must keep this in mind and develop a clear-cut programme of development in the European and Atlantic regions. Balanced politics means equal distribution of power between all members of the political community”.

Recent opinion polls show that Russians oppose a Soviet-like hard-line policy towards other states. Whilst he was president, Vladimir Putin used to say that it was not possible to even think of a return to the Cold War period. As Mr Putin’s successor, Mr Medvedev is expected to adhere to the same political course of non-confrontation.

19 May 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


Yushchenko shall confer with a Delegation from the EP Tomorrow

“His Master’s Voice”: Viktor Yushchenko with Bartholomew. An day of tragedy for the Church.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko shall confer with a delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate tomorrow, 20 May, according to a statement of Irina Vannikova, his press secretary. Previously, the Moscow Patriarchate repeatedly expressed its displeasure at the interference of the EP in the church affairs of the Ukraine, an area that is part of the canonical territory of the MP.

In June 2007, Mr Yushchenko met Patriarch Bartholomew of the EP in Istanbul. They discussed the formation in the Ukraine of “a united Local Church”. Bartholomew then transmitted is blessings to the entire Ukrainian people via Mr Yushchenko. Several years ago, one of the bishops of [a schismatic body in the Ukraine recognised by] the EP, “Archbishop” Vsevolod Skopelosky, claimed during a meeting with Mr Yushchenko that the jurisdiction of the MP does not extend to the Kiev Metropolia. Responding to this statement, Patriarch Aleksei of Moscow and all the Russias said during an interview with Interfax-Religion that “this opinion affects not only the MP, but, also all other Local Churches. This can become a source for many conflicts that would have a perceptible impact on Orthodox unity and the position of Orthodoxy in the world”. He warned Ukrainian leaders against bringing the EP into the church life of the Ukraine.

The MP also declared that they reject the pretensions of the EP to primacy over all Orthodox Churches in the world. Metropolitan Kyrill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the head of the MP Department for External Church Relations, noted that “the EP claims to play in the Orthodox world a role similar to that exercised by the Pope of Rome in the Catholic world”. He stressed that the MP insists that “the EP does not have such a primacy over the other Local Churches”. In particular, Metropolitan Kyrill unconditionally rejected the assertion of the EP that it can interfere in the affairs of any Local Church, as it claims to be the “court of last resort” for all appeals throughout the Church. He emphasised that the MP is “categorically against this affectation, and would never recognise such a procedure”.

19 May 2008



Archbishop Vikenty of Yekaterinburg urges us to restore the Good Name of Tsar St Nikolai II

The Imperial Reception of the Freeholding Elders in the Courtyard of the Petrovsky Palace on 18 May 1896 (Ilya Repin, 1897)

Archbishop Vikenty Morar of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye believes that it is imperative that we recognise and honour the merits of the last Russian emperor, Tsar Nikolai II. “Unfortunately, over many decades, his memory suffered from much slander and trivial criticism, and there was much mud thrown at his character. After some 90 years, it is necessary for us to cleanse his reputation, washing off all the mud, so that we can recognise the outstanding legacy of Tsar-Passionbearer St Nikolai II”, Archbishop Vikenty said at a conference in Yekaterinburg dedicated to the 140th anniversary of Tsar St Nikolai’s birth.

Vladyki remembered that, during the Soviet period, schoolchildren were told that 1913 was the most booming year in Russian history, but, students were never told who was responsible for that achievement. “We must give all tribute and honour to the wisdom of the man who led Russia to such a high level of development. To think that we were told that the reign of Tsar St Nikolai II was ineffectual”, he emphasised. He added that during the period of St Nikolai’s rule some 7,000 new churches and 200 new monasteries were built in Russia, and 19 churches were built abroad.

19 May 2008



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