A state-run Russian television station accidentally aired a segment highly critical of President Vladimir Putin last week.
The segment, which said Putin has "brought Russia criticism from every international rights organization," was slipped in by a disgruntled employee, Agence France-Presse reported:
The broadcast was on July 31 but the story only caught national attention this week after a video was posted on YouTube.
The clip was put on air by a director at the channel who had quarreled with the management, reported regional news website Znak.com, citing sources […]
The planted news item went on to link Putin to the 2006 murder of journalist and Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya and attack corruption that had reached "unimaginable heights."
The head of the channel called it an "act of hooliganism" and said the offending employee will be fired.
Press freedoms in Russia are "extremely poor," according to the international human rights monitoring group Freedom House.
"Russia remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for the media due to widespread lawlessness that allows politicians, security agents, and criminals to silence journalists with impunity," the group said in its 2012 report on the country.
"It would be unthinkable for Russian state television to air a report critical of Putin," AFP noted.
Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who fled the United States with highly sensitive intelligence information that he subsequently leaked to a British newspaper, has been granted temporary asylum in Russia despite its history of whistleblower repression.