In defence of rottweilers

So 10 people have been arrested over the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskayas murder last year.

Its a welcome development, certainly - far too many killers of journalists and opponents of Putins government have been getting away with contract-style murders in the past few years.

Well have to wait and see if this is a real breakthrough and whether people are going to brought to justice - but with the one-year anniversary of her killing now only a few weeks away, theres certainly a need for urgency.

One of several claims to fame Anna Politkovskaya had during her lifetime was the winning of an Amnesty international UK Media Award. Amnesty gives these to journalists who distinguish themselves with excellent journalism: people like the BBCs Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston.

Commentators are very down on journalists these days - Paxman's saying televisions in crisis and no-one trusts it anymore; people are bemoaning the fact that the newspapers are chock-a-block with trivia and that no-ones reading them now anyway - theyre too busy updating their facebook profiles.

Ok, theres some truth to these claims, but lets not forget that fearless journalism (on the BBC, online, citizen reporting, whatever) is priceless - one of the key dividing lines between a dictatorship and a more or less free society.

Having Paxman, the original media rottweiler, challenging a slippery politician or a chief executive can be entertaining (check out the infamous Michael Howard Newsnight interview).

But this terrier-like persistence and   err, well dogged determination is also bang-on for accountability and democracy.

So come on fellow democrats! Let us know if you come across any really good human rights journalism (including your own!) - well see about including it in the Amnesty media awards for 2008.

Finally, back to Anna Politkovskaya. Take a moment to take online action to keep the pressure on the Russian authorities to see that her killers are finally prosecuted.

Until next time.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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