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Azeri television crew, Turkish journalists fired upon by Russian troops in Gori, reporting equipment seized

(IRFS/IFEX) - IRFS condemns the opening of gunfire by Russian soldiers on a television crew from the Azerbaijani station ANS TV and Turkish journalists in Gori on 14 August 2008. According to ANS, on 14 August Russian tanks blocked all entrances to Gori. Russian armed forces did not permit the journalists, who are covering the Georgia-Russia conflict, into the city and, by force, took reporting equipment away from several journalists.

IRFS considers the Russian military's actions against the journalists grave crimes against freedom of expression. In IRFS' opinion, Russia's military is guilty of killing and wounding journalists in the Georgia-Russia conflict zone. The violent actions of Russian soldiers against journalists and peaceful citizens in Georgia violate both Georgian and international laws.

IRFS calls on Russian and Georgian military commanders to create the conditions required for journalists to work safely within the conflict area and to cease interfering in their professional activities.

IRFS also calls on the Azerbaijani government and the international community to denounce the violent actions of Russia's military against journalists and demands that Russia identifies and punishes those responsible for endangering the safety of journalists and for interfering in their work.

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