Murdered Uzbek journalist's brother beaten unconscious in Osh

Published on Wednesday 17 August 2011.
Reporters Without Borders has learned that Uzbek journalist Shokhrukh Sayipov was attacked and beaten unconscious by unidentified assailants when he arrived in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh on 10 August to attend a seminar. He was hospitalized with multiple injuries and partial memory loss.
None of Sayipov’s personal belongings were taken, which suggests the motive for the attack was linked to his work as a journalist. He has been covering politics and society in Uzbekistan since his brother and fellow journalist, Alisher Sayipov, was murdered in Osh in 2007. His brother’s murderers were never caught.
“We call for a thorough investigation with the aim of identifying those responsible for this attack, which recalls the murder of the victim’s brother in 2007,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The list of journalists being physically attacked in Kyrgyzstan, especially Osh, gets longer and longer in a climate of complete impunity.”
21.08.2011-Three TV journalists attacked in Osh, in latest violence against media
Reporters Without Borders deplores yesterday’s physical attack by demonstrators on three TV journalists who were covering a rally in support of the Kyrgyz nationalist party Ata-Zhurt in the southern city of Osh. It again highlighted the dangers to which journalists are exposed in Kyrgyzstan as well as police bias against the media.
“We are outraged by this latest attack on journalists who were just doing their job,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The police failed in their duty to protect them during the demonstration and then went on to display a culpable degree of indulgence towards their attackers, providing them with an excuse by finding fault with the victims, and refusing to open an investigation.
“No progress has been made in the investigations into the attacks on journalists of the last few months. On the contrary, the impunity enjoyed by those responsible is growing alarmingly. Despite the official statements and the international community’s appeals, the authorities seem unable to guarantee journalists’ safety. If nothing changes, this situation will end up threatening the right to information in Kyrgyzstan.”
Yesterday’s violence occurred when NTS television reporters Chynara Sydykova and Ayzhan Ismaylova and cameraman Vladimir Bezborodov went to cover a demonstration in support of Ata-Zhurt parliamentarians Kamchybek Tashiyev and Zhyldyzkan Dzholdoshova. The three journalists were assaulted while police looked on without intervening. Bezborodov was badly beaten and is still in hospital.
Although the office of the president issued communiqué calling on the police to “carry out an effective and objective investigation” into the attack on the journalists, the police issued a statement today absolving the demonstrators and blaming the journalists, accusing them of coming to the demonstration without accreditation (although no accreditation was needed as it was a public event).
The police statement went on to accuse the journalists of insulting the demonstrators, and said this had been corroborated by “11 witnesses” who participated in the demonstration. It claimed that they had not been hit. And finally, it claimed that a neurosurgeon at the municipal hospital who examined Bezborodov had diagnosed “neurosis.”
“The claims made by the police in their official statement are not only false but also ridiculous and offensive to the journalists,” Reporters Without Borders added. “We call on the security forces to conduct a serious investigation in order to identify the journalists’ attackers.”