Obstruction by government authorities has led to fear and self-censorship among Russian journalists and severely limited coverage of the upcoming Sochi Olympics, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) charged in a report released on Tuesday.
The group, which monitors press freedom worldwide, detailed a repressive climate for journalism in Sochi, where the Winter Games kick off in less than two weeks and where arrests, tapped phones and threats have led to a virtual media silence in Russia on many controversial Olympic-related issues.
The report detailed one case in which a correspondent for a major Russian news agency — who was not named — recently filed three stories from Sochi. One dealt with the arrest of journalist Nikolai Yarst, a case that many saw as politically motivated. A second story detailed malfunctions at a hastily built compound for residents displaced by Olympic construction. A third was about the bad weather headed for the city, where torrential rains have already flooded newly constructed roads.
Yet none of the stories made it to the wires.