Reporters Without Borders deplores the latest cases of journalists being arrested or robbed while covering the fighting and its aftermath in the breakaway province of South Ossetia and elsewhere in Georgia, according to an RWB press-release forwarded to UNIAN.
"We again condemn the obstruction of journalists and we call on the Russian and Georgian authorities to ensure respect for press freedom and to investigate the many instances of journalists being held up at gunpoint since the start of the fight," Reporters Without Borders said.
Russian soldiers arrested Associated Press Television News cameraman Raul Gallego Abellan and his Georgian driver yesterday while he was filming a Russian position at the entrance to the Georgian port city of Poti. An army officer manhandled the two men and had them taken to a police station. He told them his soldiers were "special forces" and that it was "forbidden to film them without the appropriate accreditation." There were freed two hours later and were able to recover all of their equipment.
Four journalists working for the Georgian news website Presa (www.presa.ge) were held up yesterday by individuals in a Russian vehicle, who forced them at gunpoint to surrender their car and their cameras.
Freelance journalist Margarita Akhvlediani, a former representative of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, has told Reporters Without Borders that she and her husband were held up by Ossetian-speaking men while on their way to Gori on 15 August to cover the fighting. "They forced us to stop and, at gunpoint, took all my equipment and our car," she said. Akhvlediani lost all her professional equipment in the incident.