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Journalists under threat: what has changed in Ukraine over the year

More than 100 media employees have been killed since the beginning of this year in 36 countries of the world – since last year, this figure grew by 18%. Such data was published by the public organization Press Emblem Campaign on the eve of the International Day to Combat Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, which is celebrated on November 2. Despite the absence of deaths this year among journalists in Ukraine, public organizations recorded several dozen physical attacks, threats, pressure and attempts to hinder their work.

From January last to the beginning of October of this year, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine recorded 143 cases of physical aggression against media employees, 64 of them in the past nine months.

Among these incidents, only 14 cases were submitted to the court, and the rest were either closed or considered as appeals from citizens, or an investigation is underway, said the chairman of the NSWU, Sergey Tomilenko.

Сергей Томиленко

“The objects of attack are investigative journalists and those who work with high-profile topics. A separate trend is the attack by activists of radical organizations on the editorial offices of the media and on the journalists themselves. This happens not only in Kiev, but also in the regions. As an example, I can name the beating of the editor-in-chief of one of the district newspapers in Chernihiv region for a publication that was not liked by radical citizens, ”says Tomilenko.

From beatings to phishing emails
In previous years, the number of cases of physical aggression against journalists gradually decreased, in 2016-2017 there was a “conservation of the situation” when it was kept at a stable level, and since February of this year the number of such attacks began to grow, says the executive director of the Institute of Mass Information ) Oksana Romanyuk. In her opinion, this is due to the unofficial start of the election campaign in Ukraine.

“We are also observing that local journalists and bloggers began to write less investigations and disclosures, and this, too, we associate with the elections,” says Romanyuk.

Оксана Романюк

In September, the IMI recorded 6 beatings of journalists and 5 cases of obstructing their work, and from the beginning of the year more than a hundred violations, of which 28 are connected with physical aggression.

In addition, for the last 3-4 years, researchers of the organization have pointed to increased digital threats, in particular, against investigative journalists, says Oksana Romanyuk.

“One of the indicative was the case of journalist Radio Svoboda (the Scheme project – ed.) Mikhail Tkach, from whose (false) edition e-mail phishing emails were sent. Literally, the same scheme was used in Saudi Arabia, when allegedly phishing emails were sent from a Saudi journalist’s mail that looked like a request for comment. The activity of trolls, bots and psychological pressure through social networks has increased, ”the expert notes.

It’s difficult to talk about the tendencies to investigate aggression against journalists, since they didn’t conduct the relevant research, notes Alexander Burmagin in the commentary to Radio Svoboda media jurist of the Human Rights Platform organization. According to him, lawyers of their organization work with ten criminal cases about attacks on journalists or obstruction of their activities, 8 are at the stage of pre-trial proceedings, 2 have reached the court.

“In some cases there are objective factors contributing to a slow review. For example, the person (the attacker – ed.) Found, he is wanted, can not find him. In some cases, investigators could not move further from some kind of investigative action, but before doing everything they could. But in some cases, lawyers do fix a certain sabotage, when a request is not immediately entered into the register of pre-trial investigations, time passes — the investigator does nothing, and again it is necessary to go to court to force him to do something. A very high-profile case of Nadezhda Burdey (the case of an attack on the film crew of an investigative journalist – ed.): He was investigated there for two years, and then the investigators said that the case was closed long ago, there it is all about forging signatures on the document on closing the case ” – says the lawyer.

Captive Journalists
Deputy Chairman of the UN human rights monitoring mission, Benjamin Moreau, among the violations of the rights of media professionals in Ukraine, cites the lack of progress in disseminating personal data of journalists as Peacekeeper website, as well as harassment of people, such as Zhytomyr blogger Vasyl Muravitsky, accused of high treason. According to Moreau, he spent 11 months in a detention center, and then found himself under house arrest, and radicals attacked his lawyer in the courtroom.

Last year, Muravitsky also got into the report of the organization “Committee to Protect Journalists” (CPJ) on the number of detained media workers.

(in English below/ниже на русском языке)«Наша новина сьогодні в тому, що новин нема. Мало що змінилося за останні…

Опубліковано Моніторингова місія ООН з прав людини / UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission Четвер, 1 листопад 2018 р.


The list included Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko, held in Russia, and four other media representatives imprisoned in Russia.

At the same time, as Gulnoza Said, a researcher of the Europe and Central Asia department of the organization, explained to Radio Svoboda, they could not include Ukrainian Stanislav Aseev (Vasina) in their list because he was detained by “non-state actors” – representatives of the “DPR” group.

Another Ukrainian journalist, Nikolay Semyon, convicted conditionally on charges of publicly calling for the violation of Russia’s territorial integrity, cannot deserted the territory of the annexed Crimea by Russia, which he himself denies.

Information taken from: https://ru.krymr.com/a/zhurnalisty-pod-ugrozoy-chto-v-ukraine-izmenilos-za-god/29579800.html