RWB Representative in Ukraine assaulted
Oksana Romanyuk (photo: Telekanal 24)
During the night between 6 and 7 February Oksana Romanyuk, Ukrainian Representative of Reporters without Borders, was struck in the face while using her mobile phone to film building work near her apartment block.
She told Telekritika that the builders are chopping down trees and trying to erect “small architectural forms” [a term used in legislation, for kiosks, prefabs, etc – translator] on the children’s playground and sport area. Several residents came out to protest, including Oksana Romanyuk, and the building workers surrounded them, pushing them and then one hit her in the face with his fist.
“I was filming them on my mobile so as to post the information in the media and social networks. I told them I was a journalist, but didn’t have my ID with me. The builders used every means of obstructing me, blocking the camera, trying to pull the mobile out of my hands and finally hit me in the face”.
The local residents who joined the protesters, with the help of the police, finally managed to stop the building workers.
Ms Romanyuk has made a statement to the police. She says that they wrote out a protocol and then released the assailant. She also reports that the builders told the protesters to give up their protest since they had a permit from the planning department of the Kyiv City State Administration.
Roman Holovenko from the Institute for Mass Information says that the assailant’s actions can be seen as obstructing a journalist carrying out her professional activities since he was warned that she was a journalist. This would fall under Article 171 of the Criminal Code (which the police are notoriously loathe to apply – translator).
The Kyiv Police website reported the incident but asserted that those reporting the incident had at no time stated their “connection with journalism”.
March against impunity by journalists in November 2011