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Germany

Human Rights Groups Criticize Russia

Human rights organizations at the Frankfurt Book Fair have called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to ensure that freedom of expression is respected in his country. "A journalist can no longer be free," Jürgen Döschner of the Paris-based press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders said at a press conference on Wednesday. Putin has been trying to gain control of the media since he came to power, Döschner said, adding that Russia's president had been successful in the case of television. "The press is subject to the mercy of officials," Alexei Simonov of the Glasnost Defense Foundation said, and criticized the lack of a law guaranteeing freedom of expression and press freedom. Germany and the other EU states would have an opportunity to address the country's poor human rights record at a summit with Russia in November, RWB and Amnesty International said in a joint statement. Russia is this year's focus country at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest trade fair for books.