News / Europe

    British Journalist Expelled from Moscow

    ‘The Guardian' newspaper's Moscow correspondent Luke Harding ( file photo)
    ‘The Guardian' newspaper's Moscow correspondent Luke Harding ( file photo)
    Jennifer Glasse

    Russia has expelled a British journalist, believed to be the first expulsion of a British staff journalist since the Cold War. The action comes after The Guardian newspaper reported that Russia had become a "virtual mafia state" under Vladimir Putin, a phrase that came from the Wikileaks cables.

    Until last weekend, Luke Harding was the Moscow correspondent for the London newspaper, The Guardian. When he flew to Moscow on Saturday, and handed over his passport at the airport, the woman behind the counter looked surprised.

    "My passport was taken away and then, very quickly, another 7 or 8 minutes, a young man from the Federal border service came out and said, ‘For you the Russian Federation is closed'," Harding said.

    Harding had a valid visa and accreditation. The authorities said that did not guarantee him entry into Russia and put him into a cell with 4 Tajiks, a Kyrgyz man and a woman from Congo who had been there a week. All were awaiting deportation. Harding says he was in the cell about 15 minutes when his luggage was brought to him.

    "Half an hour after that I was led through security, back on to the plane that I’d just arrived in and finally, once someone had signed for me on the plane I got my passport back with a big blue stamp over the visa with the words annulled, and that was it, that was the end of my four year career as a reporter in Moscow," Harding added.

    Harding had been warned by Russian authorities they didn’t like his reporting.

    "There are certain stories you don’t write about, you don’t write about Vladimir Putin’s alleged personal fortune hidden overseas, you don’t write about the activities of the intelligence services in Russia and you’re not really supposed to write about the really disastrously counterproductive ant-terrorism campaign if you live in Russia’s North Caucasus where there’s a big war going on, and I kind of bust all those taboos really," he added.

    But he believes it was his reports based on the U.S. Embassy cables leaked by WikiLeaks that prompted the expulsion. One report stated U.S. officials thought Russia was a "virtual mafia state" under Vladimir Putin. Harding says the cables were enlightening.

    "There’s astonishing stuff in them, and basically showed that U.S. diplomats took a really dim view of Russia and basically thought it was a corrupt kleptocracy," Harding said.

    He says he was just doing his job.

    "I think if any decent journalist had the material, was the first person to look at the material from Russia on the cables, they would have written rather similar stories to me," he said.

    Harding acknowledges his experience was mild compared to the type of danger and harassment that Russian journalists face.

    “Journalists are routinely beat up in Russia and quite frequently they are murdered and the perpetrators are mysteriously never found,” said Harding.

    More than 30 reporters have been killed in Russia since 1993, and about three dozen were attacked in 2010. Russia ranks 140th out of 178 countries in the Reporters Without Borders 2010 press freedom index.

    The free speech organization called the expulsion "a heavy-handed attempt to get journalists to censor themselves and to prevent impartial coverage of what is happening in Russia."

    The Guardian reported that Harding is believed to be the first British staff journalist to be expelled since the Cold War. Harding says it is not a positive development.

    He said, "This full-blown Soviet-style expulsion hasn’t happened for a while and I think it’s well, it’s an ominous sign isn’t it?"

    The Russian Foreign Ministry said Harding had broken media rules, and might be allowed back into Russia if he fixes his accreditation problems.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora