MEDIA FREEDOM
Ukraine: Press freedom violations May 2019
31 May 2019
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

Index on Censorship’s Monitoring and Advocating for Media Freedom project tracks press freedom violations in five countries: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Learn more.

9 Incidents

Online outlet correspondent assaulted by politician

16 May 2019 — Oleg Baturin, New Day online outlet correspondent, was assaulted by a deputy of the Kherson regional council in Kahovka. The official blocked the journalist, grabbed his hands and threatened to cripple him.

Categories:  Physical Assault/Injury

Source of violation: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party

Journalist assaulted by a government official in Kyiv

15 May 2019 — Volodymyr Tymofiychuk, 1+1 TV Channel correspondent, was assaulted by a government official in Kyiv. The official pushed the journalist, grabbed his clothes and hands.

Categories:  Physical Assault/Injury

Source of violation: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party

Editor-in-chief's car set on fire

12 May 2019 — The editor-in-chief of TVi Channel Vladimir Yegorov said that his car was set on fire in Kyiv, the Ukrinform news agency reported.

“Today, at 4:30 am, my car was set on fire, I associate it with my professional activity,” Yegorov posted on Facebook. According to Yegorov’s version of events, arson is suspected because his neighbors heard the sound of an explosion before the car caught fire.

Ukraine’s National Police launched a criminal investigation under the “intentional destruction or damage to property” of the country’s criminal code. Yegorov said he would ask the police to reframe the case under the article “intentional destruction or damage to the property of the journalist”, according to Detector Media online outlet.

Sources:

https://www.ukrinform.ua/rubric-kyiv/2698400-golovnomu-redaktoru-telekanalu-spalili-avtivku.html

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2667278600009174&id=100001811816352

https://kyiv.npu.gov.ua/news/Informacziya/policziya-rozpochala-kriminalne-provadzhennya-za-faktom-zagoryannya-avtomobilya/

https://detector.media/community/article/167195/2019-05-12-politsiya-vidkrila-provadzhennya-za-faktom-pidpalu-avtivki-golovnogo-redaktora-tvi/

Categories: Attack to Property

Source of violation: Unknown

TV crew assaulted by customs officers

9 May 2019 —  Natalia Polishchuk, Maria Petruchyk and Vyacheslav Moroshko — journalists working for Avers TV channel — were assaulted by customs officers at the Yagodyn border crossing with Poland.

The journalists were investigating a large shipment of amber, which was alleged to have been smuggled to Poland through the Yagodyn customs station. They entered a restaurant where customs agents were attending a party and began asking questions about corruption and the amber smuggling. According to Avers, the officers who were present behaved aggressively and assaulted the journalists. One journalist’s finger was bruised and the crew’s camera was broken, 1+1 TV channel reported. 

“Two men approached me, they started tugging at me, tore my jacket, hit the cameraman, hit the camera,” Polishchuk said. Petruchyk reported, “He wrestled my phone out of my hand, used brute force, my hand is damaged, he tore my journalist’s ID off me.”  The officers also forcibly took the journalists’ driver’s licenses, car documents and bank cards. A customs officer told one of the journalists he would “bury her” the following day. The journalists managed to film a part of the incident.

The police have opened criminal proceedings on three articles. “It’s about interfering with the professional activities of journalists, robbery and causing intentional light bodily injuries,” Viktor Homol, spokesperson for the National Police in the Volyn region, said. The case is now being investigated by the State Bureau of Investigations.

Sources:

https://www.volynnews.com/news/extreme/piani-volynski-mytnyky-pobyly-ta-pohrabuvaly-znimalnu-hrupu-telekan/ 

https://tsn.ua/ukrayina/zhurnalistiv-na-volini-pobili-mitniki-spravu-rozsliduye-dbr-1343535.html

Categories: Physical Assault/Injury, Attack to Property, Blocked Access 

Source of violation: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party

Journalists assaulted during commemoration rally

9 May 2019 — Unidentified persons threw red paint on people during a commemorative march in the Dnipro city (Dnipropetrovsk). As a result of the attack, a journalist from Kryvyi Rih and the operator of the 34th TV channel were injured, Pervyy Krivorozhskiy TV channel reported.

The names of the journalists were not reported. The National Police confiscated items that were stained with paint. The journalists filed a complaint with the police, demanding the investigation to be opened under the article “obstructing the professional activities of journalists” of the criminal code of Ukraine. However, the police opened a case under the article “hooliganism”.

Sources:

https://1kr.ua/news-50606.html

https://dp.npu.gov.ua/news/podiji/stanom-na-1500-v-policziji-vidkrito-4-kriminalni-provadzhennya-pov-yazani-z-podiyami-pid-chas-masovix-zaxodiv/

https://imi.org.ua/news/u-dnipri-pid-chas-mitynhu-postrazhdala-znimal-na-hrupa-34-kanalu/

Categories: Attack to Property

Source of violation: Unknown

Journalist receives death threat after arson attack on her home

8 May 2019 — Nataliya Kamyshnikova, s journalist for the Radar local online news outlet in Novovolynsk city, was threatened with death, the Institute of Mass Information (IMI) reported. A week earlier, unknown persons set fire to the journalist’s house.

“Yesterday to my friend came close a woman under thirty – with dyed hair, in black glasses in the central market of the city of Novovolynsk. The woman firmly took her by the hand and said: Tell Kamyshnikova this was just the first warning. We will kill her, let her prepare a coffin,” the journalist wrote on Radar website.

On the night of May 1, two unidentified men set fire to a the house belonging to the journalist. Kamyshnikova claimed this had been done out of revenge for one of her articles.

According to IMI, the National Police began the criminal proceedings because of the threats to murder the journalist. Kamyshnikova said that in late January, an anonymous person on the internet threatened her with physical harassment. The journalist then complained to the police. She insisted on entering her case into the Uniform Register of Pre-trial Investigations and requested that criminal proceedings to be instituted. However, the police refused to open criminal proceedings.

Sources:

http://radar.in.ua/obitsyayut-ubyty-komu-zh-ya-tak-zavazhayu/

https://imi.org.ua/news/na-volyni-zhurnalisttsi-cherez-znayomu-peredaly-pohrozu-vbyvstvom/

https://www.volyn24.com/news/126120-vidomij-volynskij-zhurnalistci-pomstylysia-za-material-pidpalom-budynku

https://imi.org.ua/news/politsiia-vidkryla-spravu-cherez-pohrozy-vbyvstvom-volyns-kiy-zhurnalisttsi/

Categories: Intimidation, Attack to Property

Source of violation: Unknown

Journalist assaulted in Odessa, had sewage poured at her

7 May 2019Svitlana Pidpala, activist, journalist and blogger, was assaulted in Odessa’s Summer Theater were she was filming a public event. Unidentified person poured a bucket of sewage on Pidpala. Her equipment was damaged.

Categories:  Physical Assault/Injury, Attack to Property

Source of violation: Unknown

Journalist falls into coma after assault

4 May 2019 — An unidentified person armed with a hammer assaulted journalist and blogger Vadim Komarov in the center of Cherkasy, IMI reported.

According to the National Police, Komarov was walking down the street, when an assailant hit him in the head several times and severly injured him. After that, the attacker fled the scene. Casual passers-by found the badly wounded journalist and called an ambulance at about 9 am. Komarov was operated on the local hospital. According to the doctors quoted on a local online news outlet Procherk, Komarov received an open craniocerebral trauma. The operation lasted two hours after which the journalist fell into a coma.

The police is investigating the case under the criminal article “assassination attempt”.

Komarov is known for his investigation of corruption among city authorities. The journalist has already been assaulted in the past. On 7 September 2016, an unknown person shot at Komarov in Cherkasy, but the bullet hit the wall.

Sources: https://imi.org.ua/news/u-cherkasakh-pobyly-zhurnalista-vadyma-komarova-vin-u-vazhkomu-stani/

http://procherk.info/news/7-cherkassy/72109-zhorstoko-pobito-cherkaskogo-zhurnalista

http://procherk.info/news/7-cherkassy/72195-rozsliduetsja-kriminalne-provadzhennja-za-faktom-zamahu-na-vbivstvo-vadima-komarova

Categories: Physical Assault/Injury

Source of violation: Unknown

Armed man assaulted Odessa journalist

2 May 2019 A pensioner armed with a knife knocked the phone out of the hands of Olena Solomonova, Odessa.online correspondent, during the commemorative event in Odessa.

Categories: Attack to Property

Source of violation: Unknown

Turkey urged to halt its assault on media freedom and civil society

Thirteen international organisations have submitted a statement to UN Human Rights Council calling on Turkey to halt is crackdown on the media.

Council of Europe’s new secretary-general must enhance efforts to protect press freedom

Twenty-two international organisations have written an open letter on freedom of expression to the new secretary-general of the Council of Europe.

Editor calls for renewed investigation into murder of Irish journalist Martin O’Hagan

An editor at the Irish newspaper, the Sunday World, calls for renewed investigation into journalist’s murder.

Iran: Satirical writer Kioomars Marzban is sentenced to 23 years in jail

Kioomars Marzban, a 27-year-old satirical writer from Iran, was sentenced to 23 years and 3 months in prison. He was found guilty on five separate charges, given a two-year travel ban, and a two-year ban on publishing or using social media.

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