IFJ Condemns Escalation of Violence against Journalists in Ukraine
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the escalation of violence against media after a series of attacks against journalists by protection officers of both Ukrainian President and Prime Ministers in recent months. Other journalists have also bee victims of similar assaults by lower ranking officials.
"We condemn this mindless violence against journalists who are only doing their job," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "The authorities must respect our colleagues’ right to safety and ensure their security services stop attacking journalists."
According to the Kyev Independent Media Trade Union (KMTU), an IFJ affiliate, there have been a number of incidents since September in which protections officers of the President and Prime Minister assaulted journalists. Some have been beaten up, had their equipment damaged and photographs taken at official events deleted from their cameras.
The KMTU has recorded four violent incidents on media since June 2010. They concern the attack on Sergei Andrushko of STB channel who was knocked to the ground by President Yanukovych’s protection officer on 15 June, followed by another incident also involving a presidential minder who destroyed all photos from Gazeta reporter Tatiana Svetnytska’s camera on 30 September and the latest attack by the Prime Minister Azarov’s bodyguard on Channel 5 TV crew in Kyiv on 29 November 2010, destroying their camera.
The authorities have taken no action over these attacks and journalists fear low ranking officials are increasingly resorting to violence against media, as a result. The KMTU cites the case of Mayor of Free Choice journalist Dementiv Belyi who was beaten up by Mayor Volodymyr Saldo of Kherson on 14 September 2010.
The IFJ supports the KMTU’s call on Ukrainian authorities to show zero tolerance towards violence against journalists, especially in this year of the tenth anniversary of the murder of journalist Gyorgy Gongadze.
"The culture of impunity for crime against media perpetrators calls into question the claim to rule of law in Ukraine," added White. " We hold the Government’s highest authorities responsible for the safety of our colleagues."
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 members in 125 countries