Ukraine: Press freedom violations June 2019
04 Jul 2019

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.

6 Incidents

Journalist’s car deliberately crashed by thugs

27 June 2019 — An unknown person deliberately crashed his car into Stop Corruption online outlet crew’s car in Odessa, the National Police reported. The left side of the car was damaged. The driver, who was inside the vehicle, wasn’t injured.

The incident was reported by journalist Roman Bochkala on his Facebook page. According to his post, investigative journalist Asya Glutska and her crew went to film a $1 million private villa owned by judge Serhiy Chvankin, head of Kyiv district court in Odessa. After that the crew drove to Kyiv District Court. About 30 hired thugs were waiting for the journalists there. One of them drove a car into the side of the journalists’ vehicle. According to Odessa police report, the thugs also threatened Glutska and the crew. 

The police has launched an investigation under the criminal article of “threat or violence against a journalist.” 



Categories: Attack to Property, Intimidation

Source of violation: Unknown

Local newspaper editor assaulted

22 June 2019 — Olexander Nakaznenko, a Zorya Pryirpinnya editor, was assaulted by the village council deputy Yury Marchuk in Gostomel, IMI reported.

According to the Zorya Pryirpinnya website, Nakaznenko said “it happened at the Gostomel market during lunch time, when I brought the new issue of my newspaper to hand out there. The deputy of the Gostomel village council, Yuri Marchuk, who saw me with a stack of newspapers, at first wouldn’t allow me to pass and picked at me with insults and threats. When I passed by him… he ran after me and hit me in the back of my head with his fist from behind”. Nakaznenko told Marchuck that his actions were illegal, and the latter knocked the smartphone out of his hands. That part of the encounter was caught on camera.

After the incident, Nakaznenko filed a complaint to the police. He connected the assault with his journalists professional activities, as he has long criticised the work of the Gostomelian deputy Yury Marchuk in the newspaper.


Categories: Physical Assault/Injury

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

Female journalist assaulted by tenant of private beach

20 June 2019 — Aliya Zamchynska, correspondent of Dumskaya online news outlet, was assaulted and threatened by Yury Reznikov, tenant of Otrada beach in Odessa and owner of a cable car next to it, reported. 

According to Ukrayinska Pravda, local deputies, civil activists and journalists arrived to Otrada beach to remove an illegal fence restricting public access to the beach. The video recorded by Dumskaya shows Reznikov confronting the group armed with a machine gun and threatening them. “I’m not ready to kill for private property, but I’m ready to shoot [you] in the legs,” Reznikov told them. During the episode Reznikov pushed Zamchynska, who fell to the ground and received an abrasion.

Deputy Olexander Sheremet managed to disarm Reznikov, and the police were called to the scene. They discovered that the gun had been loaded.

This is not the first time that Reznikov and his family attacked journalists and activists: in 2012 his daughter assaulted activist Zoya Melnik in front of her child, and in 2014 Reznikov pushed a cameraman for Pervyi Gorodskoi TV channel into a swimming pool with his camera. 


Categories: Physical Assault/Injury

Source of violation: Known private individual(s)


Two journalists assaulted by head of election campaign

13 June 2019 — Two reporters from Stop Corruption online outlet, Maria Gural and Volodymyr Tsyganov, were assaulted in Priluki, Chernihiv region, Institute for Mass Information reported. The attacker was identified as Olexander Chaly, deputy head of  politician Boris Prikhodko’s election campaign for Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada. 

According to Stop Corruption website, the journalists were trying to access an open event where Prikhodko was meeting with members of the public. The crew intended to check their intel on alleged voter bribery at the event. 

Olexander Chaly first tried to snatch a microphone from Gural, and then began to beat her. Tsyganov tried to protect Gural and got beaten up as well. As a result of the assault, Gural received a concussion, and Tsyganov ended up with scratches and light injuries. The police arrested the assaulter and charged him under the criminal article of “threat or violence against a journalist.” 


Categories: Physical Assault/Injury

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


TV journalists threatened to have their equipment damaged

10 June 2019 — UA:Rivne TV correspondent Alina Prymak and her cameraman were threatened by unknown individuals near the private residence of a local businessman in Rivne, IMI reported. 

The TV crew came to the scene to follow up on the local police’s report about an arson in a private residence the night before. The journalists approached the residence, and a few unknown men who claimed to be working there confronted them in the street. Prymak asked if it was possible to talk to the owner about the arson. “The men began threatening to cut the wheels of a car that was parked nearby, apparently having decided that it was the car the journalists had arrived in, although that was not the case. They also threatened to break our camera. At the same time, one of the men pushed the cameraman, ” Prymak said.

After that journalists left the scene. UA:Rivne TV filed a complaint to the police. 

UA:Rivne TV is a local branch of the Ukrainian public broadcaster in Rivne. 


Categories: Intimidation

Source of violation: Unknown


Camerperson severely assaulted

7 June 2019 — Unidentified individuals severely beat Vadym Makaryuk , a cameraman for the 24th channel and Visti.News portal, during a mass brawl at the Barabashovo marketplace in Kharkiv, 24th channel reported. 

According to the National Police, a the mob assaulted Makaryuk as he was filming an altercation at the market. They sprayed tear gas in his eyes, punched him in the face, destroyed his camera and stole the memory card.  The incident happened during the clashes between a right-wing group the National Corps, war veterans in the Donbas and merchants in the market. According to the market managers, the conflict arose due to a property dispute.

The journalist was taken to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed a hemorrhagic stroke, which was the result of cerebral hemorrhage caused by the assault. Makaryuk is in critical condition at the hospital.

Police opened criminal proceedings under the articles “threats or violence against a journalist”, “obstruction of journalists’ legal activities”, and “robbery”.


12 June 2019 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, condemned the attack on Vadym Makaryuk, and called on the Ukrainian authorities to thoroughly investigate the incident. “I condemn the attack and beating of Vadim Makaryuk, and urge the authorities to do their utmost to bring the perpetrators of this attack swiftly to justice,” Désir said. “Targeting and attacking journalists because of their work is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.”

12 June 2019 – A court in Kharkiv refused to detain a man involved in the brutal beating of Makaryuk, considering round-the-clock house arrest was sufficient, Interfax-Ukraine reported. According to the court’s decision, a 26-year-old unemployed Kharkiv resident Kozlyuk who was involved in the assault on Makaryuk would have to spend one month and 28 days under house arrest. Immediately after the hearing, the lawyer of the suspect said that the defense would appeal the decision. The press service of the prosecutor’s office also announced their intention to appeal this decision of the court.


Categories: Physical Assault/Injury, Attack to Property 

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

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.

Pakistan’s media forced into self-censorship

Pakistan’s journalists have faced harassment and interference, pressure on media owners is common, and the government has taken to interrupting the distribution of news it dislikes.

Organisations call on Russia to end targeting of journalists covering Moscow protests

A coalition of eight media freedom and journalists’ organisations are calling on Russian authorities to immediately stop the harassment of journalists who have been covering the recent protests in Moscow.

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