|Georgian journalists arrested, fined for filming in Russia|
|June 02, 2011|
Moscow - Two journalists working for a Georgian television company were arrested and fined in Russia for attempting to cover a public memorial service without official accreditation, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.
Agents employed by Russia's national intelligence agency the FSB arrested the pair, who were employed by the Tbilisi-based television company PIK, during a Monday memorial service in Moscow for a Caucasian official.
News reports identified the team as newswoman Natalia Podashvili, an Azerbaijan national; and cameraman Andrei Matveev, a Russian national.
The two had been interviewing people attending a memorial service for Sergei Bagapsh, who had served as president of the renegade Georgian Black Sea province of Abkhazia until his Sunday death from surgery complications.
Matveev was fined the equivalent of 18 dollars for working as a reporter without accreditation. Podashvili, as a non-Russian national, could face a maximum fine of 180 dollars and expulsion from the country.
Russia's government in recent years has clamped down on independent media, with the most intense pressure hitting domestic critics.
Relations between Russia and Georgia have been rocky for years because of a war fought between the two countries in 2008, and long-term criticism of the Kremlin by Georgian media.
Abkhazia backed Moscow during the war, which confirmed its de facto independence from Georgia and gave it control of more Georgian territory as a result of the fighting.
Abkhazia achieved de facto independence from Georgia in a 1992-1993 civil war. No major nation besides Russia, which maintains army and navy troops in the territory, has recognized Abkhazia as an independent state.
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