Pro-Kremlin youth group pickets Russian, foreign news outlets in Moscow

Monday, July 5th 2004, 10:03 am
By: News On 6

MOSCOW (AP) _ A pro-Kremlin youth group on Monday launched a picket of Russian and several Western news outlets in Moscow, saying they failed to report on alleged corruption in the Russian media.

The group, called Walking Together, said its activists would picket outside the media offices all week.

``We want ... the media outlets we are picketing to pay attention to what's happening in Russian media, to the corruption, to the publication of stories planted for pay, so that the campaign of silence ends,'' Konstantin Lebedev, a Walking Together activist, told The AP.

The group claims to have found evidence of Russian newspapers admitting to publishing incorrect information in return for thousands of U.S. dollars.

In addition to the Western outlets, which included The Associated Press bureau, the group was targeting six Russian publications that are most critical of Kremlin policy and President Vladimir Putin. Two members stood outside The AP on Monday handing out leaflets to passers-by.

The group also said it was picketing the Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Bloomberg News agencies and the British Broadcasting Corp., among others.

Walking Together, which strongly backs Putin and is rumored to enjoy material support from the Kremlin, is best known for its efforts to purge Russian literature of allegedly offensive material including pornography