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    Two reporters beaten in Russia's Far East, one fatally

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    VLADIVOSTOK, January 22 (RIA Novosti) - Two journalists were brutally beaten over the weekend in the Russian Far East, and one of them died of his injuries.

    A TV anchorman, Konstantin Borovko, was robbed and beaten to death by a group of assailants in the Pacific port of Vladivostok early Saturday as he was returning from a nightclub.

    Prosecutors said the motives behind the killing of the 25-year-old journalist, who worked for a television station in the nearby city of Khabarovsk, remain unclear. But some of his colleagues expressed doubt the attack was linked to his job.

    In a separate incident, Tamara Golovanova, a staff reporter with the Vesti newspaper in the town of Partizansk, was attacked while on a newsgathering assignment.

    The newspaper's editor-in-chief, Olga Aksakova, said a man punched Golovanova in the face and chest at a local employment center where she was taking photographs for an article about alleged violations of employees' rights by a company's management. A subsequent medical examination showed she suffered a brain concussion and that her nose was broken.

    According to the Paris-based international organization Reporters without Borders, Russia is among the world's most dangerous countries for the media, along with Iraq and Mexico. More than 20 reporters have been killed here since President Vladimir Putin took office in March 2000, including three last year. The International Federation of Journalists puts the figure at 40.

    The October 2006 killing of investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, known as an outspoken critic of the Kremlin and its policies in Chechnya, placed the situation with press freedom in Russia into the international spotlight, drawing harsh condemnations and calls for a thorough investigation from Western governments and the public.

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