Pressure is growing on the Kremlin to deal with a spate of attacks on Russian journalists. As one man remains in a coma after a weekend beating, two more journalists have reported being attacked.
Russian reporters are still being targeted
As two more journalist beatings were reported in Russia on Monday, President Dmitry Medvedev said those behind a near-fatal attack over the weekend would be found and punished.
Reacting to intense media scrutiny over the handling of previous journalist beatings, Medvedev said the culprits responsible for the Saturday beating of Kommersant business daily reporter Oleg Kashin would be held accountable, regardless of their potential rank or title.
"Whoever is involved in this crime will be punished, regardless of his position, place in society or accomplishments," Medvedev said in comments broadcast on state television throughout the evening.
"I have seen it written in the press that [the people behind the crime] will not be found. They will be found. There is no doubt."
Kashin remains in a coma after his near-death beating
The Russian prosecutor general called Monday for any witnesses of the beating to come forward. He said investigators had as of yet received no leads in the case.
In the line of fire
Medvedev added that assaults on reporters must be treated with extra care by society and not be grouped with other crimes.
"Reporters are people who find themselves in an area of heightened risk," he said.
The president's comments come as purported video footage of the weekend beating hit Russian websites and state TV news.
The recording showed two assailants attack a man as he approached a gate to a residential building at night. One person held him by the upper body while the other beat him with what appeared to be a metal shaft.
Kashin remains in a coma, his legs, skull and fingers smashed in one of a long line of attacks on Russia reporters.
Politkovskaya was murdered in 2006
The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, called the attack "brutal" and "obviously unacceptable."
The media freedom representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Dunja Mijatovic, said the assault "confirms a worrying trend of continuous violence against journalists" in Russia.
There have been 19 unsolved murders of journalists in Russia since 2000, including the 2006 killing of Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya.
Meanwhile, two more journalist beatings were reported Monday. One was a reporter with the Zhukovskiye Vesti suburban Moscow weekly, and the other the editor of the Volga region's Saratovsky Reporter.
Zhukovskiye reporter Anatoly Adamchuk says he was struck twice in the head and was recuperating at home. He said the only item stolen during the incident was his computer memory card.
Author: Darren Mara (AFP, dpa)
Editor: Martin Kuebler