Kharkiv journalists demand an end to police violence



Members of the Board of the Kharkiv Regional Branch of the National Journalists’ Union have issued a statement following the latest assault on a journalist.

They state that on 10 August 2011 at 23.50, during the dispersal of a picket in support of sacked trolleybus drivers on Freedom Square, a police officer seriously injured Denis Kornyev, journalist from the newspaper “Nasha Zhyzn” [Our Life].   According to witnesses the injuries were inflicted by Police Major Vladimir Chuhayevsky, the Head of the Public Order Department of the Dzerzhynsky District Police.  Denis Kornyev was taken to hospital and found to have numerous injuries and displaced cervical vertebrae.

The authors express concern over the incident and demand a thorough investigation.

They point out that this is not the first appeal they have issued.  In May 2010 they turned to the police because for the first time in many years members of the pressure had had microphones grabbed and thrown away, faced physical violence and obstruction to their work during the incidents at Gorky Park.

There was also obstruction to their work and violation of journalists’ rights on 19 June 2010 during public hearings about the Park.

On 7 June 2011 officers from the Department for Fighting Organized Crime with masks and gear carried out a search of journalists’ working area and obstructed issue of the newspaper.

Exactly one year ago, on 11 August 2010 the Editor of the newspaper Novy Styl [New Style] and member of the National Journalists’ Union, Vasyl Klymentyev disappeared.  They point out that despite assurances that the investigation is continuing, his disappearance remains unsolved.

There has been no response to any previous appeals.

The authors stress that this is an unacceptable violation of journalists’ rights as enshrined in the Constitution and legislation.

“”We consider the above-listed cases a violation of freedom of speech and obstruction of journalists’ professional activities, and demand that the police defend press workers from violence and create order and ensure enforcement of the law.”

The letter is signed by members of the Board Oleksandr Holub and Yevhen Maslov and is open for endorsement.

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