By Bridget Johnson, The Hill

 


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Barack Obama between flags SCTwo press-freedom organizations sent President Obama off to Russia with letters asking that he address the troubling murders of journalists with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Reporters Without Borders sent a letter, dated last week, to both Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, noting that Russia is 141st out of 173 countries ranked on the group’s press-freedom index and stressing that attacks on journalists and harassment against the free media have increased in the past year.

“We understand that relations between the United States and Russia are not limited to the issues of human rights and the rule of law. But it would be wrong to ignore them,” the letter states. “Russia is an inescapable presence on the international stage and if it wants to be seen as a reliable partner and factor for stability, it must pledge to do more to respect human rights and freedoms.”

Citing the deaths of at least 20 journalists killed in connection with their work since Vladimir Putin became president in 2000, the press-freedom group noted that the fifth anniversary of the murder of Forbes editor and U.S. citizen Paul Khlebnikov is on July 9.


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