New York, December 15, 2011--Today's murder of Gadzhimurad Kamalov, founder of the independent newspaper Chernovik in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan today is a lethal blow to press freedom, said the Committee to Protect Journalists.
"The assassination of Gadzhimurad Kamalov is a massive loss for independent journalism in the North Caucasus, Russia's most dangerous place for reporters," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. "Russian authorities must immediately, thoroughly, and effectively investigate this terrible crime and bring Kamalov's killers to justice."
Kamalov was exiting Chernovik's offices at around midnight local time when a masked gunman, apparently waiting outside the building, riddled him with bullets, then escaped the scene in a getaway Lada sedan, driven by an accomplice, a Chernovik staffer who witnessed the murder told CPJ. Journalists at Chernovik, known for its independent reporting on corruption in the local administration, have been routinely persecuted for their work, CPJ research shows. In 2010, then-editor Nadira Isayeva was honored with CPJ's International Press Freedom Award.