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CAMERAMAN KILLED

For journalists in Russia, there is often a high price to be paid for those who report on illegal activities. Sometimes, it can mean death. On 21 May 2005, the body of Pavel Makeev was found by a road outside the town of Azov in the southern region of Rostov, reported the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations (CJES) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Makeev, 21, was a cameraman for Puls television. He was killed shortly after filming illegal drag racing competitions in Rostov. Although authorities have classified the death as a traffic accident, Makeev's colleagues believe he was killed purposely to thwart his report, according to CPJ. Two journalists who spoke to CPJ said reporters who have tried to cover drag racing are often threatened.

Drawing large crowds, the drag-race competitions involve illegal betting. Residents say the races have been going on for three years, but police have failed to abolish the practice. CJES says police often accept bribes in exchange for allowing the races.

According to CPJ, a climate of impunity pervades Russia as a result of a politicised criminal justice system, crippled by corruption and mismanagement. The murder case of Natalya Skryl, a business reporter who was slain in Rostov-on-Don in 2002 after investigating a factory dispute, remains unsolved. No one has been arrested in the case.

Visit:
- CJES: http://www.cjes.ru/index-e.php
- CPJ: http://www.cpj.org/news/2005/Russia14july05na.html
- Violent Censorship: http://www.cpj.org/op_ed/Cooper07july05.html
- Twelve Murders, No Justice: http://www.cpj.org/Briefings/2005/russia_murders/russia_murders.html
- Freedom House Report: http://www.freedomhouse.org/research/freeworld/2004/countryratings/russia.htm
- IPI Watch List: http://www.freemedia.at/r_wl_russia.htm
- Carnegie Moscow Center: http://www.carnegie.ru/en/topic/71629.htm

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