Impunity is the main reason for attacks on Ukrainian journalists
Attacks on journalists remain an acute problem for Ukraine. Amid accusations of inaction, deputies of the Verkhovna Rada will hold hearings on the safety of media workers.
The work of journalists in Ukraine remains dangerous in Ukraine under any government, human rights activists say. There have been no positive shifts since President Vladimir Zelensky came to power – the number of attacks on journalists and obstacles in business has not decreased, according to regular monitoring by non-governmental organizations. Journalists and media experts believe that the behavior of senior officials becomes indulgence attacking members of the press.
Politicians are gradually becoming aware of the problem of violence against journalists. Deputies of the Verkhovna Rada in September adopted a resolution according to which hearings on this subject will be held in parliament on Wednesday, September 6, with the participation of journalists, representatives of public organizations and experts. In the explanatory note to the draft resolution, the deputies stated that over the past year, law enforcement authorities have begun pre-trial investigation of 258 criminal proceedings for crimes related to obstruction of professional journalistic activities, but only 26 cases have been submitted to the court.
Ukrainians appreciate the work of investigators
According to the August 2011 Ilk Kucheriv Foundation for Democratic Initiatives, a nationwide study of Ukraine’s public opinion, together with the Kiev International Institute of Sociology, Ukrainians praise, in particular, the work of investigative journalists who expose corruption and criticize officials’ abuses. Only 22 percent of Ukrainian negatively assess the activities of independent investigative journalists. But 69 percent of respondents are positive about their work.
At the same time, the profession of a journalist remains one of the most dangerous in the country. The Institute of Mass Media’s “Freedom of Speech Barometer” recorded that no positive changes had occurred under the new government. According to this monthly monitoring, since the beginning of 2019, 191 cases of violations of freedom of speech have occurred in Ukraine. From July to September, with 75 cases of violations of freedom of speech in Ukraine, 53 cases were physical aggression against journalists.
Anxious Presidential Example
After President Vladimir Zelensky came to power, the head of his office, Andrei Bogdan, said that the new administration could do without the press and communicate with society through social networks. An even greater public outcry occurred at the end of September, when the press secretary of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, Yulia Mendel, pushed the investigator of the Scheme: Corruption in Details program, Sergei Andrushko, and prevented him from asking the president a question about his return from the US and the scandal surrounding Zelensky’s telephone conversation with the American president Donald Trump
Zelensky himself did not condemn the act of his press secretary and criticized the actions of the journalist. “He gave a very clear signal to all subsequent hierarchical levels in the state, journalists themselves behave in such a way that their rights can be violated,” commented Daniil Mokrik, a colleague of Andrushko from the investigation program Our Money. The journalist considers the behavior of Mendel a crime and recalled that the rights of journalists are protected by five articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Politicians imitate leaders
The well-known ex-presenter of television programs, and now the opposition deputy of the Verkhovna Rada, Nikolai Knyazhitsky explained the danger of a journalist working in the state by not understanding the role of journalism in society. He recalled cases of surveillance of journalists and the publication of their personal data. The deputy criticized cases of threats to journalists with criminal liability for violating the privacy and secrecy of the correspondence of politicians.
The last time these threats were made by the deputy from the “Servant of the People” Bogdan Yaremenko, was outraged that the journalists photographed and published his intimate correspondence with a prostitute during a parliament meeting. “When authorities make such statements, anyone dissatisfied with the work of journalists will consider themselves right in a conflict with journalists,” Knyazhitsky said in an interview with DW.
Alexandra Matviychuk, chairman of the Center for Civil Liberties public organization, described the main risk of journalists in an interview with DW as the “running systemic problem of impunity.” In her opinion, this is primarily the weakness of the state bodies themselves, they remained unreformed and cannot, and often do not want to conduct effective investigations. She also remembered the increasing brutality of attacks on journalists during the election campaigns and the aggravation of public contradictions as a result of the armed conflict in the Donbass. And in the field, journalists are further provided one on one with merging business and government with local law enforcement agencies, Matviychuk noted.
Information taken from: https://www.dw.com/uk/%D0%B1%D0%B5%D0%B7%D0%BA%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%BD%D1%96%D1%81%D1%82%D1%8C-%D0%B3%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%B8%D1%87%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%B4%D1%96%D0%B2-%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D1%83%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%97%D0%BD%D1%81%D1%8C%D0%BA%D0%B8%D1%85-%D0%B6%D1%83%D1%80%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%BB%D1%96%D1%81%D1%82%D1%96%D0%B2/a-51108881?maca=ukr-rss-ukrnet-ukr-all-3816-xml