Ukraine, Belarus and Russia must take measures to protect journalists


The international human rights organizations Article 19 and International Media Support (IMS) have called on the authorities of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia to take every legal and political measure needed to protect journalists and defend the right to freedom of expression in these countries.

"We recommend establishing effective cooperation between human rights organizations and journalist organizations for the provision of mutual support, " Senior Communications and Advocacy Officer at Article 19 Oliver Spencer said at the presentation of the recommendations to the report "No Justice for Journalists in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia" in Kyiv on Monday.

The recommendations call on the authorities of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia to recognize publicly that journalists are vulnerable to violence specifically because of the work they do.

"This should always from the outset be considered a possibility in any investigation of an attack, a death, or a journalist’s disappearance, " the report reads.

According to the report, the authorities should publicly condemn attacks, deaths and disappearances without prejudice, and refrain from any negative propaganda about the journalist in question; as well as design and implement an effective policy to promote and protect journalists, enabling them to work in a free and safe environment.

The international NGOs also called on the governments of the three countries to train their public officials, especially those working in law enforcement, on how to offer an effective and rapid response when a journalist is threatened, including emergency measures (safe houses, etc.) to protect them from even greater harm

If an attack takes place, an immediate, effective and independent investigation should be launched in order to bring both the perpetrators and the instigators to justice, the report reads.

The report by Article 19 and the International Media Support (IMS) was done following the conference "Ten Years On, No Justice for Georgy Gongadze: the Need to Find New Ways to Fight Impunity" held in Kyiv, on September 16 2010.

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