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Journalists getting in someone’s way?2010-08-03 12:47
Journalism has always been a dangerous profession. Today, it takes greater risk to air the truth despite the almost universally proclaimed freedom of speech. This week, Timur Tskhovrebov, editor of an independent newspaper in Tskhinval, and Monte Carlo radio station journalist in Tbilisi Shorena Karchava were attacked by those being discontented with their activities.
There is no great difference between the attitude to journalists in Georgia, where, according to Mikhail Saakashvili, democracy has been built and in South Ossetia, where medieval morals prevail, in Georgians' opinion.
Five days ago, editor of XXI Century newspaper and Republican Party - Iron initiator Timur Tskhovrebov was beaten. He asserted that deputies of South-Ossetian parliament Alan Khassiev, Kazimir Pliev and Dmitriy Vaneev were among the assaulters. They suggested he got into a car and had it all straightened out in the country but when the journalist refused he got seriously wounded. Doctors stated an arm fracture, a cut on the neck, a wound in the lip and wounds of visceral organs.
Despite his strained relationship with authorities, Timur had been criticizing the slow reconstruction of the republic, inappropriate expenditure and burning of university books for two years in his paper. Still, it was the first time he came across such cruelty shown by his fellow countrymen. In Tskhovrebov's opinion, the assaulters' wrath had been stirred by wrong information about the Iron party's aims voiced by South-Ossetian Presidential Envoy for post-conflict settlement Boris Chochiev.
Timur Tskhovrebov was among the six Ossetians who recently took part in the Georgian-Ossetian Civil Forum in Europe. The forum adopted an appeal to Genevan debaters, in which activists on both parties asked to facilitate the Georgian-Ossetian border crossing for local residents. Chochiev represented it as Tskhovrebov's desire to cancel the state frontier which meant an action against South-Ossetian independence.
Now that Timur is in hospital, South-Ossetian authorities are widely criticized. Today, North Ossetia journalists collected signatures in their colleague's support and sent an open appeal to the republic government. They called upon President Eduard Kokoity to take the investigation under his personal control. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch international organizations also came with criticism and demanded punishment for the criminals. Naturally, Georgia made a bitter comment that Tskhovrebov was beaten up for his attempt to set up a dialogue with Georgians.