Georgia - South Ossetia 11 August 2008
Two journalists shot dead at roadblock in South Ossetian capital
Reporters Without Borders deplores the death of two journalists yesterday in Tskhinvali, the capital of the breakaway republic of South Ossetia. 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 while trying to cover the arrival of Georgian forces.
According to reporter Orkhan Jemal of the Russian edition of Newsweek, they were travelling at the time in a privately-owned car with US reporter Winston Federley and fellow Georgian reporter Teimuraz Kikuradze.
When the car tried to avoid roadblock erected by Ossetian pro-independence fighters, the Ossetians opened fire, killing Chikhladze and Klimchuk and wounding Kikuradze and Federley, who were taken to a field hospital in Tskhinvali, Jemal said.
“We are shocked by the death of Chikhladze and Klimchuk, we offer our sincerest condolences to their relatives and colleagues, and we call on all parties to help return their bodies to their grieving families,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We also urge all of the armed forces in South Ossetia to respect the work of the press and to guarantee the safety of journalists, who are just independent observers of this war.”
Rustavi 2, Imedi TV and GPB television cameramen already came under fire on 8 August while filming fighting in Ergnetti, a village near Tskhinvali. Two other journalists - Vyatcheslav Kochetkov and Igor Naydenov of the magazine Expert - have been reported missing
The websites of the Georgian president’s office and foreign ministry have meanwhile been the targets of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, in which a flood of connection requests can render a site inaccessible. The Georgian authorities said the attacks came from Russia.
The Georgian foreign ministry can currently be accessed at this address : http://georgiamfa.blogspot.com/.