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Posted on Dec 07, 09:39AM | IANS
A journalist in Nalchik, capital of Russia's Kabardino-Balkaria region, has been shot dead because of his "professional activities", investigators said.
"This audacious crime can be seen as a threat to other journalists who cover operations against insurgents acting on the republic's territory," the Investigative Committee said.
Kazbek Gekkiyev, TV host of a local daily news programme for state-owned VGTRK broadcasting company, was leaving work late Wednesday when he was approached by two unknown men.
A witness said one of the men asked him whether he was Kazbek Gekkiyev, and when he replied "yes", one of them opened fire.
Journalists reporting on the battle between federal authorities and Islamist militants in the volatile North Caucasus have previously been targeted as a result of their coverage.
Earlier this year, a group of unknown extremists posted a video online threatening some of Gekkiyev's colleagues, although he was not named. When two employees were taken off the air for their own safety, Gekkiyev replaced one of them as a presenter.
Gekkiyev's colleagues said he had not covered any particularly controversial stories that could have led to the murder, but journalists from state media had received general threats.
"The rebels were threatening local reporters at state-owned outlets and bloggers," a reporter based in the North Caucasus, Zaur Farniyev, told Kommersant FM radio station.
Gekkiyev's TV channel cancelled all entertainment shows scheduled for Thursday, as a mark of respect.