Russia: Managing the Message by Drugging the Messenger

After terrorists besieged the Beslan school, a "semiofficial" document circulated among Russian networks demanded "media self-censorship ... 'Special operation' was prohibited, as was 'shahid' [suicide martyr] - a word that, along with the phrase 'war in Chechnya,' has already been prohibited on state TV for a year. ... Analysis of options to save the hostages, of steps already taken, or reasons for the crisis was also forbidden." Russian security forces have been accused of drugging journalists and preventing "two known Kremlin critics" from reaching Beslan. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe noted "worrying developments in the relationship between the [Russian] Government and the media."