MOSCOW, May 20. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian law permits the Russian authorities to take retaliatory measures against countries that violate the rights of Russian journalists, Head of the Duma Committee on Information Policy Alexei Mitrofanov declared during the committee's debate on the situation in respect to the LifeNews journalists detained in Ukraine.
"Journalists are entitled to work in any conditions and they are protected by laws. Even during continuous conflicts in the Middle East and other regions reporters could fulfill their professional tasks," Mitrofanov said.
"Article 55 of the Bill on the Mass Media stipulates that the Russian government may take retaliatory measures against countries which subject the rights of our citizens to discrimination. We have made no mention of that clause during the Ukrainian conflict yet, and this does not mean that tomorrow the Russian Federation will act according to the bill. As a matter of fact, we ought to find other ways, but such a possibility exists," Mitrofanov warned.
First Deputy Head of the Duma Committee on Public Associations Mikhail Markelov has suggested sending a group of Duma deputies to Kiev to help the Russian journalists in trouble. "The group of the Duma MPs should be sent to Kiev to make sure that the journalists are alive and are staying in Kiev," Markelov told the meeting of the Committee on Information Policy on Tuesday.The Ukrainian Rada can think of no pretext to ban the visit of the Russian MPs to Kiev, Markelov added.
The LifeNews journalists, Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saychenko, were detained by the Ukrainian law enforcers near Kramatorsk. The journalists had last contacted their colleagues at LifeNews on May 18. On May 17, Deputy Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security Council Viktoria Syumar accused the Russian journalists of provoking the spread of terrorism in the Donetsk region.