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10 Aug, 2008 18:13

Russian journalists beaten up in Georgia

A crew from Russia’s First TV Channel has been beaten up in the Georgian capital Tbilisi while filming a protest rally at the country's parliament building.

Reporter Maksim Bobrov said the men, wearing camouflage uniforms, “most likely represented some kind of a law enforcement body”. 

“We were filming in the city centre at the parliament building where refugees from South Ossetia held their meeting”, he explained.

“We were cut short by some people who took away our camera and materials. The cameraman and the sound engineer were beaten up. We managed to get our camera back but not what we had filmed,” Bobrov said.

The journalist said: “President Saakashvili gave assurances that restrictions would not be imposed either on Georgian or foreign journalists”.
It’s also reported that in the conflict zone itself, another Russian TV-crew, belonging to the NTV channel, came under fire.

On Saturday, three journalists from the state owned Rossiya channel were wounded in shooting in South Ossetia along with a correspondent from Russia’s Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. 

Many journalists have been forced to flee the conflict zone.

One of those who returned from South Ossetia to Russia was a reporter for RT's Arabic network Mahmoud Kanbar.

Amid heavy shelling, he said, it was a life or death situation.

“Civilians are the worst-hit in this situation. There is no food and there is little water there. Everything is closed down. Children are in the basements. They have no other choice. It was the worst nightmare when the Georgian tanks moved into the city. They fired at everyone they saw. It was awful. It is worse than fascists, worse than Hitler. They don’t care who is in their sight – children or journalists,” Kanbar said.