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    HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL DENIES RANKING RUSSIA'S PRESS FREEDOM RECORD AS THIRD-BEST IN EUROPE

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    MOSCOW, March 2, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The Geneva-headquartered International Council on Human Rights Policy denies having circulated a press release with survey findings that allegedly rank Russia's press freedom record as Europe's third best.

    The Russian-language version of this press release, circulated Tuesday among news media in Russia, refers to a survey conducted by the Council at the European Parliament's request. Some of the local media have already used the information from what now appears to be a fake account.

    The International Council on Human Rights Policy has never done any rankings of media, Russian or otherwise, and all reports about it doing so are false, Dr. Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, ICHRP Director for Research, told RIA Novosti in a telephone interview. He described the press release as a hoax and a provocation.

    The International Council on Human Rights Policy is not a human rights watch, Mohamedou explained. This is a think tank, involved with applied research.

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