University of South Carolina journalism professor Randy Covington said he does not think his detainment in St. Petersburg, Russia earlier this month was an innocent mistake by the Russian government.
Covington was in the country at the time to moderate an October 16 investigative journalism workshop on behalf of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting. The professor said Russian officials interrupted the beginning of the workshop that he former Boston reporter Joe Bergantino were teaching that day, saying the two men had the wrong visas to teach Russian journalists.
Covington and Bergantino needed business visas instead of the tourist visas which they used to enter the country, according to a statement by the Russian government released that day. The two journalists were given a visa hearing and a Russian court allowed them to leave the country the following day.
Covington said he was detained for about five hours. He insisted that the U.S. State Department had advised them to use a tourist visa. [Read more...]