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Bomb hoax against Russian-language daily, photographer attacked

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has expressed support for the Russian-language daily "Sevodnya" ("Today") after its premises were the target of a bomb hoax on 22 August 2007 and one of its photographers, Alexandre Lesik, was attacked while covering a meeting held on 26 August 2007 in Odessa by the opposition coalition led by former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

The newspaper's editor, Igor Guzhva, contacted Reporters Without Borders on 23 August to voice his concern about the threats against him and all his staff.

The newspaper had to be evacuated for nearly two and a half hours on 22 August because of the bomb alert. An inspection of the premises finally established that it was a hoax. It was preceded by three weeks of repeated threats, most in the form of anonymous phone calls.

"We call on the authorities to ensure the safety of 'Sevodnya''s journalists and to display greater diligence in their investigation into the origins of the threats," Reporters Without Borders said. "We will follow this case closely. All the necessary measures must also be taken to shed light on the attack on Lesik, which is disturbing and must nor recur."

Guzhva said the threats could be linked to a lawsuit brought by the newspaper against Olexandre Turchinov, a member of the BYuT (the main opposition party), which accused the paper of publishing false information about Tymoshenko.

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