A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

International Journalism In-Brief

By Quill


Russia’s Supreme Court in February dealt two blows in two days to the treason case against journalist Grigory Pasko.

First, the Court nullified a military decree used to jail Pasko for treason. The ruling did not overturn his conviction, according to The Associated Press.

A day later, the Court struck down a 1990 order that restricted contacts between members of the military and foreigners.

Pasko, 40, was convicted by a military judge on Dec. 25 and sentenced to four years imprisonment for collecting material on secret military exercises to give to Japanese journalists, The Washington Post reported.

Pasko said the case was brought against him in retaliation for his reports on alleged environmental abuses by Russia’s Pacific Fleet, including the dumping of radioactive waste in the Sea of Japan.

A defense minister’s order in 1966 prohibited such information from public disclosure, according to the AP. The military collegium of the Supreme Court, ruling on Pasko’s challenge of the constitutionality of the defense minister’s order, struck down the order.

Ivan Pavlov, Pasko’s lawyer, said the journalist would file another appeal with the Supreme Court, asking it to invalidate the Defense Ministry decree retroactively and overturn his conviction.

Pavlov said the Supreme Court’s decisions demonstrated that “the legal basis for this case simply does not exist.” He predicted the rulings would vastly strengthen Pasko’s hand when the Supreme Court considers his appeal, The Post reported.


A popular Colombian television anchorwoman and talk show host fled Colombia Feb. 4 in fear for her safety, her station announced.

It was the second time in a year that journalist Claudia Gurisatti of RCN television has left the country, The Associated Press reported.

In a brief statement, RCN said Gurisatti, 27, was leaving the country indefinitely for “security reasons.” However, the statement did not elaborate on the nature of the threat or say where the journalist was heading.

“There was a plan against her life,” said Alvaro Garcia, RCN news director.

Gurisatti already was using an armored car and bodyguards because of anonymous threats received last year.

She was expected to continue to work on her nightly talk show, La Noche, from exile, the station said.

Colombia, which is immersed in a 38-year civil war, has become one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists, according to the AP. The BBC reported that drug-traffickers, guerrillas and paramilitaries in Colombia routinely intimidate journalists.

EDITOR OF MEXICAN MAGAZINE IS GUNNED DOWNUnknown assailants gunned down the editor of a weekly magazine in northern Mexico after he filed a report linking an ex-mayor with drug traffickers, an international journalists’ group has reported.

Felix Alonso Fernandez Garcia, editor of the weekly magazine Nueva Opcion (New Option) was shot and killed Jan. 18 as he got into his car in the border city of Miguel Aleman in the northern state of Tamaulipas, state law enforcement officials said.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said the editor had recently written a story denouncing the alleged connection between drug traffickers and Raul Rodriguez Barrera, Miguel Aleman’s former mayor.


A Haitian judge assigned to investigate the slaying of a prominent journalist has fled to South Florida, saying he feared for his life.

Claudy Gassant, 36, arrived in Palm Beach County in early January.

Gassant had been ordered to probe the April 3, 2000, killing of Jean Dominique, according to The Associated Press. Dominique, 69, was shot seven times, just minutes before he was to give his 6 a.m. newscast on Radio Haiti Inter, the station he owned.

Gassant stepped down from the case once before in June, saying security concerns had forced his decision. Then in early May, he threatened to resign. He said he feared for his life and had not been given adequate police protection.

He also said he was intimidated by police officers a few days after the Dec. 17 attack on Haiti’s National Palace.