Minister requested to control probes into attacks on reporters

A parliament faction leader has requested Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin
to personally supervise investigations into attacks on journalists, the press
service of the State Duma reported on Thursday.

Liberal Yabloko faction leader Grigory Yavlinsky drew Stepashin’s attention
to the growing abuse of local media reporters who are opposed to incumbent
governors.

Yavlinsky said in a letter that of special concern are the facts that police
not only stand idle when journalists are persecuted, but sometimes are directly
involved.

Four reporters were killed in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in
May and June, including two in Russia, a Glasnost (Openness) Protection Fund
official told a news conference on Thursday.

Head of the Monitoring Department Oleg Panfilov said the murder of Kalmykia
reporter Larisa Yudina had created the greatest stir.

St. Petersburg reporter Igor Yazykov was killed on May 2. Prior to his death
he had written several articles on illegal sale of children to foreigners. In
Panfilov’s view, he was murdered for his investigation.

The body of Georgy Chaniya from the Tbilisi newspaper Resonance was found in
Abkhazia in early May. He was killed in armed clashes in the Ghali district.

According to the Fund’s data, chief editor of university newspaper Donish
(Knowledge) Meirhaim Gavrielov was killed in his apartment in Tajikistan’s
capital Dushanbe on June 8. He headed a cultural society of central Asia Jews.
However, police said Gavrielov had committed suicide.

The Fund said attacks on reporters, including those by police, increase with
each month. In Russia alone, it cited seven such attacks in June.

In Simbirsk, a photo of a local reporter who covered the work of
law-enforcement bodies, was seen pinned to a target in a regional police office,
the Fund said.