22 May 2019 20:22

Reporters Without Borders view situation surrounding Kommersant employees blow at Russian journalism

PARIS. May 22 (Interfax) - The international organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has expressed concern over the resignation of a group of journalists from the Kommersant newspaper.

"Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is dismayed by the latest blow to editorial independence in Russia," the organization said in a statement.

The RSF "would also like to express its total solidarity with journalists who mobilize to defend independent, quality journalism, which is threatened by increasingly blatant political interference," the statement said.

On May 20, 11 journalists of the Kommersant publishing house, including deputy editor-in-chief Gleb Cherkasov, political desk chief Alla Barakhova, and all employees of the political desk, tendered their resignations as of June 15 in protest against the dismissal of their two colleagues.

Vladimir Zhelonkin, Kommersant's CEO and editor-in-chief of the newspaper and website of the same name, explained the dismissal of these employees by their failure to meet journalistic standards.

According to the dismissed journalists, they were told they were dismissed at the demand of Kommersant shareholder, businessman Alisher Usmanov. A representative of Alisher Usmanov told Interfax that the businessman knew nothing about the dismissal of journalists.