Opposition MPs demand end to police pressure on journalists over Yanukovych billboards


Members of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information from the opposition have issued a statement demanding that the Prosecutor General’s Office take measures to both check the legality of police actions and to protect journalists’ rights. 

The statement points out that over the last weeks Internal Affairs [MIA] officers have summoned journalists for questioning in three cities in various regions of Ukraine. The only thing that united the journalists who don’t know each other was their professional activities, in the course of which they published material about deliberate damage to billboards with President Yanukovych’s New Year and Christmas greetings.  This was in Lviv, Odessa and the town of Kostopil in the Rivne region.

The details they give about the Lviv and Rivne cases can be found here.

There is information about the latest incident, concerning Ihor Stolyarov here

The MPs also express concern over events involving Poltava region journalist Irma Krat who has allegedly been forced to hide together with her child because of threats from the police to initiate a criminal investigation against her over her opposition activities.

They also demand reaction over the actions of the law enforcement bodies with regard to the TV company New Odessa whose work has been blocked by Special Force Sokil officers and members of the Department for Fighting Organized Crime.

The MPs stress that summonses to journalists or their friends to an interrogation or chat without being handed a formal summons or demand by MIA investigators without a court order to publish sources of information for journalist materials are intrusion in the professional activities of journalists and the media and contain elements of harassment and pressure on journalists, this being prohibited by law.

From a report here

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