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WASHINGTON, March 28. /TASS/. The Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has refused to disclose the subject matter of publications concerning Russian President Vladimir Putin before they are published.
ICIJ Director Gerard Ryle made no comment to TASS on a statement by Russian president’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov who said it was an "outspokenly masterminded campaign".
"Yes, we are the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and we have requested comments from the Russian authorities as part of the ongoing investigation. We will publish shortly," he said.
"I can't say any more than that, I'm sorry," Gerard Ryle said in reply to the request to specify information as to where and when publications were to appear.
Earlier on Monday, the Kremlin spokesman told reporters that a number of mass media were preparing an outspoken pre-planned media attack against Putin and his entourage.
He warned that the forthcoming publications would concern Putin personally, attempts to reach information about his family and also Putin’s old-time friends, including some businessmen, among them Kovalchuk, Rottenberg and others. Also, the publications would concern certain offshore companies and "a large number of businessmen Putin has never seen in his life."
"Another media falsehood disguised as a sample of objectivity is due within days. We have received some very honey-worded queries looking like a questionnaire from an organization calling itself International Consortium of Investigative Journalists," Peskov said. He said that publications on the basis of that query were being prepared within days in Germany, the United States, Britain, France, Switzerland and Russia.
"We believe that this is an outspokenly masterminded campaign," Peskov said, adding that the organization he mentioned might involve not only journalists, but representatives of special services and organizations.
About the query from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Peskov said that its documents contained questions that "have been asked hundreds of times and answered hundreds of times." "The answers were legal, emotional and fact-stating."
He pointed out that Kremlin had decided to express its attitude to this at its own initiative in advance. He voiced the hope that journalists who put their names to such propaganda stuff would seek higher professional standards after all.