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Attacks On Journalists Spark Concern In Russia

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Attacks On Journalists Spark Concern In Russia

World

Attacks On Journalists Spark Concern In Russia

Attacks On Journalists Spark Concern In Russia

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A series of brutal attacks on journalists in Russia has sparked both local and international concern. A political reporter for a national newspaper was beaten in Moscow over the weekend, and is now in a coma in a hospital; and a second reporter, this time working for a suburban newspaper, was badly beaten up on Monday. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for those responsible to be exposed and punished; while the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said it was time the Russian authorities took action to stop the attacks.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

Both those men were covering a politically charged plan to build a highway north of Moscow, as NPR's David Greene reports.

DAVID GREENE: On a dark Moscow street tonight, Antone Chiernin(ph) was doing his hour-long rotation. He and fellow journalists have been keeping a vigil going outside Moscow police headquarters, demanding justice.

ANTONE CHIERNIN: From 8:00 in the morning until 11:00 in the evening.

GREENE: Chiernin covers the music industry for a Moscow radio station and he spoke about the beatings the last few days with an eerie sense of calm. It's a sad reality for Russian journalists, he said. Cover a sensitive issue and you're a target. The only choice is whether to let the fear get to you.

CHIERNIN: So, you might become a cloud(ph). Or you might live as you live.

GREENE: Kashin is a political reporter for Kommersant, a respected mainstream newspaper. His editor, Mikhail Mikhailin, said Kashin's mangled fingers are proof someone didn't like his writing.

MIKHAIL MIKHAILIN: (Speaking Russian)

GREENE: This theory behind Kashin's beating gained new credence yesterday when a suburban reporter named Anatoly Adamchuk, who also covers the forest debate, was attacked and hospitalized. Then news reached Moscow today of a separate third incident - an editor in the city of Saratov, beaten by two young men Friday as he left a store.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS BROADCAST)

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: (Speaking Russian)

GREENE: In the past, the Kremlin and government-friendly news networks have brushed aside incidents like this. But Kashin's attack has been all over the news. And President Dmitry Medvedev suggested someone had it out for Kashin because of his profession.

MEDVEDEV: The style of the attack, it's not the way wallets usually get stolen. This was targeted action. The people involved must be exposed and punished.

GREENE: Do you think journalists are scared right now to cover hard issues?

CHIERNIN: No. No. I think no, because you know, something is changing. Something is changing.

GREENE: David Greene, NPR News, Moscow.

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