IFJ calls Russian journalist Babchenko affair 'intolerable'

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, who was declared murdered and then later turned up alive, attends a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev, Ukraine May 30, 2018. Mykola Lazarenko/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) described on Thursday the staged murder of a Russian dissident journalist who dramatically reappeared alive a day later as “intolerable” and “inadmissible”.

Ukrainian authorities had said that Arkady Babchenko, a 41-year-old critic of President Vladimir Putin and of Russian policy in Ukraine and Syria, had been shot dead at his flat on Tuesday. But Babchenko reappeared on Wednesday in the middle of a press briefing about his own murder.

“Arkady Babchenko is still alive and can continue to do his job as a critical journalist: the news is excellent,” said Philippe Leruth, the president of the IFJ, in a statement.

“But in falsely spreading the news of his murder, the Ukrainian authorities have gravely harmed the credibility of information, and their brief communication risks being seen as a propaganda operation.”

Reporting by Julia Fioretti, editing by Robin Emmott