16 March 2012
By Boris Timoshenko, Glasnost Defence Foundation (Moscow)
As expected, reporters had a hard time covering the 4 March presidential elections. They were closely watched by the local electoral committees, police officers and other unidentified individuals. They were expelled from polling stations, detained, bussed to polling stations elsewhere, forbidden to use cameras, required to erase photo images and video footage, assaulted, and deprived of their photo and TV equipment ...
Most commonly, officials claimed that journalists were "encroaching upon voters' personal data", "offering resistance to the police", or "campaigning against United Russia". Other pretexts for their exclusion were "data secrecy", the presence of "other reporters at the polling station" or that there was "no one at the polling station". In some cases it was baldly stated that "the journalists are obstructing the electoral committee in its work". [Read more]