Georgia - South Ossetia - Heavy toll for journalists: four killed and four arrested since fighting broke out



    MONTREAL, Aug. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Cameraman Stan Storemans of Dutch TV
station RTL-2 was killed and reporter Jeroen Akkermans, the station's Moscow
correspondent, was injured during Russian bombing of the Georgian town of Gori
last night. Earlier yesterday, a Georgian reporter working for the Russian
edition of Newsweek and his driver were killed when a shell hit their vehicle
in Gori's main square.
    Yesterday's deaths came just a day after two other reporters - Grigol
Chikhladze, the head of Alania TV, and Alexander Klimchuk, the head of the
Caucasus Press Images agency and a correspondent for Itar-Tas - were killed in
the breakaway republic of South Ossetia, apparently in an attempt to pass a
roadblock manned by Ossetian pro-independence fighters.
    "Four journalists and a driver have been killed since fighting broke out
in South Ossetia, while at least four other journalists have been injured,"
Reporters Without Borders said. "This toll is already heavy and we appeal to
all the parties involved to tell their forces to respect the work of the press
and to ensure they do not target journalists."
    Hilmi Hacaloglu, a reporter with the Russian television station NTV, and
his cameraman, Cumhur Catkaya, are meanwhile being held in South Ossetia by
Russian troops. Reporter Levent Ozturk of the Turkish TV station Kanalturk and
his cameraman, Giray Ervin, are also reportedly being held somewhere in South
Ossetia.
    NTV said the two crews were sharing a vehicle that was following a convoy
towards North Ossetia when it came under fire. It is believed they have
sustained only minor injuries.
    The Association of Journalists and Foreign Correspondents in the Turkish
capital of Ankara has contacted the Russian embassy in Ankara and the Turkish
foreign ministry in an attempt to obtain their release. NTV representatives
said they had not had any news of their crew for several hours and had no idea
why they were detained.
    Reporters Without Borders added: "We urge the Russian authorities to
release the four NTV and Kanalturk journalists at once, and we reiterate that
war reporters are civilians and, as such, enjoy international protection.
There are no grounds for arresting a journalist who is just doing his job."




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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