Rusia vetó a periodistas de ABC por entrevistar a terrorista

MOSCOW, Russia (Reuters) — Moscow is barring journalists from U.S. television channel ABC from working in Russia after the channel broadcast an interview with Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
Accreditations for ABC’s reporters would not be renewed and, in the meantime, they would be banned from talking to Russian officials, it said.
Free speech advocates have repeatedly criticized President Vladimir Putin’s government for restricting the Russian press, but this appeared to be the first action against a major Western media organization.
«ABC is now unwelcome to contact any Russian state organizations or bodies,» a Foreign Ministry statement said.
It said broadcasting the Basayev interview «was a clear case of helping to propagandize terrorism» and accreditations for ABC workers would «not be renewed».
There was no immediate U.S. reaction, but one official, who asked not to be named, said banning ABC journalists «would obviously be a concern».
ABC was not immediately available for comment.
The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists said: «This action reflects the Kremlin’s growing intolerance of any kind of criticism, especially in regard to its actions in Chechnya.»
CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper’s statement said Russia was «clearly trying to intimidate foreign journalists into censoring their news reporting on the war in Chechnya. We call on the (foreign) ministry to reverse its decision immediately.»
Russia outraged
Russia was outraged by the interview with Basayev, who is its most wanted man and organized the bloodiest attacks of the 10-year Chechen war. Moscow summoned the U.S. envoy to complain after it was broadcast last week.
In the interview, Basayev admitted to being «a bad guy, a bandit, a terrorist» but said Russia was worse. He promised more attacks as long as the Chechen war continued.
The Foreign Ministry said it would also look into the legal status of journalist Andrei Babitsky, who conducted the interview, and would ask his employer Radio Liberty to explain why he was in Chechnya without accreditation.
Babitsky, whose reporting has been a thorn in the side of the Russian army in Chechnya, said the fierce reaction to the interview was prompted by shame over the authorities not being able to find Basayev themselves.
«The security services are embarrassed because they have spent vast sums over six years but they still can’t catch Basayev, and here he is talking to a journalist… this shows how ineffectively they are working,» said Babitsky.
He told Reuters by telephone: «This is fantastic, this just shows the state of free speech in Russia today.»
Security services put a $10 million price on Basayev’s head after the Beslan hostage siege when 330 people — half of them children — died, but have failed to catch the warlord.
Basayev has claimed responsibility for orchestrating the Beslan attack.
Journalists need special accreditation to visit Chechnya, and foreign news organizations must travel with armed guards.
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