Moscow came under criticism Wednesday by some countries for the killings of journalists in Russia as well as limitations on the freedom of the press, dpa reported.
Alexander Konovalov, Russia's minister of justice, appeared in Geneva before the United Nations' Human Rights Council period country review, and said the state was working to improve human rights and reminded that they were still in transition from the policies of the Soviet Union.
He said the country had a free press and that there was no repression of the media in the country.
Yuri Dzhibladze, the head of the Russian Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, told reporters after the session that the government "controlled" most of the media through various methods including intimidation and threats.
"It is a disappointing and sad picture in Russia regarding freedom of speech and the independence of the media," he said, adding that limitations were also being placed on protesters and non-governmental groups.
He claimed that besides Iraq, Russia remained the most dangerous place in the world for reporters, with many killed in the last decade.
While delegates from Western and some other countries did generally recognize that Russia had taken steps to combat racism and race related crimes, they also said that Moscow still had much work to do.
Particular concern was stated during the session for people of Chechen and Roma backgrounds.
Another issue demanding reform, a UN document issued for the review said, was the Russian prison system and reports of ill treatment and torture.
Under the Universal Period Review introduced in 2007, each country will appear before the council once every four years and have a chance to present its progress on human rights and be critiqued by other nations and non-governmental groups.