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Three Journalists Killed, Two Missing Covering Conflict In Georgia

Journalists Vyacheslav Kochetkov (left) and Igor Naidenov are missing in Georgia.
Journalists Vyacheslav Kochetkov (left) and Igor Naidenov are missing in Georgia.
Three journalists have been reported killed and two are missing since fighting erupted between Georgian, Russian, and local forces in the breakaway region of South Ossetia and elsewhere in Georgia proper.

At least nine have been injured.

"We call on all sides to respect the presence of journalists in conflict areas and ensure that they can carry out their reporting in safety,” said Robert Mahoney, the deputy director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.

Russian photojournalists Alexander Klimchuk and Grigol Chikhladze were killed in South Ossetia on August 10. Russian "Newsweek" reporter Orkhan Dzhemal told Ekho Moskvy radio and the Moscow daily "Kommersant" that the journalists came under attack by South Ossetian militia after entering the conflict zone from Georgia.

Klimchuk is listed as head of the Tbilisi-based photo agency, Caucasus Images, and Chikhladze is listed as an agency journalist, according to the agency’s website.

Chikhladze was believed to be on assignment for Russian "Newsweek" and Klimchuk was on assignment for the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS.

Meanwhile, a Dutch television journalist was killed when Russian warplanes bombed the central Georgian city of Gori on August 12.

The television news station RTL reports on its website that cameraman Stan Storimans was killed and correspondent Jeroen Akkermans was wounded in the leg in the attack.

Storimans had planned to publish a book this year describing his 20 years of reporting from hotspots like Sri Lanka, Congo, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the former Yugoslavia.

The Moscow-based news website "Expert" reports that two of its journalists -- Vyacheslav Kochetkov and Igor Naidenov -- are missing in Georgia. Communication was reportedly lost with the two journalists when they traveled to Georgia from neighboring Armenia.

The website is appealing for help in finding the missing reporters.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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