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Media curbs lifted in Russia, media covers protests

So far mum, the Russia's state-controlled media today started airing news about mass protests in the country against alleged fraud and ballot rigging at last Sunday's State Duma polls, after Kremlin lifted the curbs.

world Updated: Dec 10, 2011 20:47 IST

So far mum, the Russia's state-controlled media today started airing news about mass protests in the country against alleged fraud and ballot rigging at last Sunday's State Duma polls, after Kremlin lifted the curbs.

The polls in which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party retained majority in 450-strong lower house, albeit losing absolute majority it enjoyed in the outgoing parliament, has become a rallying point for protesters who want fresh elections.

Shortly after the beginning of the mammoth rally in Moscow 'Rossiya 24' news channel and Vesti FM radio started giving detailed coverage of the anti-Kremlin protests across the country seeking fresh elections, dismissal of Chief Election commissioner Vladimir Churov, a thorough probe into all the cases of irregularities and ballot rigging at last Sunday's polls and punishment to all responsible officials.

Earlier, there was a news black out in the state-controlled electronic media and the opposition websites and foreign services of news agencies were the only source of information for the general public.

According to sources, the discontent among the reporters and journalists over the information policy of their channels had forced the Kremlin to lift curb.

Russian ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, who was present at the rally site to monitor the situation, told Rossiya 24 that the police were very polite and assisting people, who were also not aggressive.

The superficial scanning of placards and banners reveal that the demonstration "For Fair Elections' were not overtly directed against the country's leadership, although Putin's United Russia was targeted as the party of "Swindlers and Thieves".

"My vote was stolen!", "I did not vote for swindlers and thieves", "Relections!" were the most numerous slogans at the rally organised by Solidarnost (Solidarity) combining various opposition parties and groups not represented in the parliament, although many activists of 'A Just Russia' party were also present at the rally.

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