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Russia does poorly in freedom-of-press rankings

May 3, 2013 at 8:20 AM

MOSCOW, May 3 (UPI) -- Russia ranked low in three media watchdog evaluations released Friday to mark World Press Freedom Day.

Reporters Without Borders, based in Paris, placed Russian President Vladimir Putin on the Predators of Freedom of Information index.

The report called the president a "control freak," who oppresses the country's grassroots movement behind anti-Kremlin protests, RIA Novosti reported. On the list with Putin are Chinese President Xi Jinping, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Italian Mafia and the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Impunity Index by New York's Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Russia ninth.

The report criticized Russia for having 14 unsolved journalist murders since 2003. It gave praise to Russia, though, for "a general decline in deadly anti-press violence and a handful of partly successful prosecutions in journalist murders."

Russia moved from 176th to 197th on the Freedom of the Press ratings by Freedom House, a non-governmental organization in the United States. The report included Russia in the "non-free" group of countries for its control of television channels and regulations on NGOs and slander in the media.

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