In February, IMI experts registered, in total in Ukraine, 33 cases of violations of freedom of press were registered in 17 regions of the country. The largest number of violations was registered in the category of impediment to lawful journalist activities – 18 cases. This data is provided by the monthly monitoring of the Institute of Mass Information “Freedom of speech barometer”.
The leader of violations in this month was Kyiv with its oblast (11 cases), in Volyn there were three registered cases, and two cases were registered in each of Lviv, Mykolaiv, Rivne and Kherson regions.
The right of journalists for their profession was violated by private individuals, law enforcement agencies officers, local authorities, MPs and others.
The journalists were obstructed in Kyiv and its oblast, in Volyn, Donetska oblast, Zaporizhzhia, Kirovohrad region, Lviv region, Odesa region, Poltava region, Rivne region and Kherson region. It was done by private individuals, local authorities, MPs, law enforcement officers and members of election commissions.
For example, a case of obstruction which caused indignation of the journalist community, took place on February 7 in the Verkhovna Rada. MP from the group “Volia narodu” (“Will of the people”), former member of the Party of Regions, Oleksandr Ponomariov, pried cell phone from the hands of parliamentary correspondent of online media outlet “Censor.NET” Ivan Marusenko, while the journalist was using the device to record the MP’s comment.
In Zaporizhzhia, on February 15, representative of security of state-owned enterprise “Kremniypolimer” broke the camera belonging to filming crew of channel 24, trying to take it away. Right before this, the journalists recorded interview with one of the factory’s administrators.
In Kyiv, on February 21, in Obolonskyi district court, police officers asked female journalists to show absence of inscriptions on their body, looking for Femen inscriptions. Police officers also conducted additional examination of all women who visited the court, as on that day President Petro Poroshenko was supposed to visit the court to testify in the case of high treason of Viktor Yanukovych.
It is in February when, for the first time since the start of the year 4 cases of legal pressure on mass media and journalists by law enforcement officers, military enlistment office and National Bank representatives.
In addition, IMI experts registered 2 cases of threats (in January – 1), and 2 cases of limitation of access to public information (in February – 3) and attacks against mass media offices.
In Rivne, for example, an unidentified man threw bottles with flammable substance to the editorial office of information and analytics portal “Chetverta vlada”, and caused fire that destroyed one of the rooms. No one was injured, although there were some people in the office. In Kyiv, the editorial office of “Vesti” reported about destruction of equipment and furniture of the media holding by people who captured their office, controlled by ARMA – National Agency for search and management of assets received from corruption and other crimes.