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Cameraman attacked in Osh

(PAJ/IFEX) - On 11 June 2010, Osh-based Keremet TV cameraman Batyr Mamatzhanov was seriously injured when a crowd attacked his car and seized his camera. Mamatzhanov was beaten and suffered two broken ribs and a head injury; he remains in critical condition. Public Association "Journalists" (PAJ) was informed of the attack on 29 June by Keremet TV Executive Director Venera Abdyraimova.

"He was beaten by 30 unidentified men on 11 June 2010 when the unrest in Osh started. The crowd stopped the car and people in the crowd requested that he not film them. Some of them shouted: 'Don't film us! Beat the cameraman, take the camera! We don't want any witnesses!'", Abdyraimova said.

At the time of the attack, both Abdyraimova and Mamatzhanov were in the car and returning from an assignment.

Before the attack, the cameraman had been shooting news images of the unfolding turmoil, filming burning houses and stores which had been set on fire.

Mamatzhanov is presently recovering at his home. "Here in Osh, the hospital is overfilled with injured people and has no space. We decided that it would be better for Batyr to stay home, where we can look after him", Abdyraimova told PAJ.

According to Keremet TV management, the broadcaster has an urgent need to buy at least one home video camera to shoot pictures for news reporting.

In addition to the assault on Mamatzhanov, the following other attacks against journalists and media outlets have been recorded in Osh:
- the home of Kamil Toktorov, chief of the government news agency Kabar's south branch, was robbed and set on fire, and his car was seized by unidentified gunmen;
- the car of Tursunbai Karabaev, an employee of the regional newspaper "Echo of Osh", was also seized and burnt;
- Gulzat Gazieva, an employee of "Osh Shami" newspaper, and Muazzam Zaynabetdinova, editor-in-chief of TV DDD, both lost their homes;
- the Osh TV office was destroyed as a result of the unrest.

The families of journalists have also received threats. A total of six journalists were injured in Osh, said Internews-Kyrgyzstan producer Elima Japarova.

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