In March, IMI experts registered 24 cases of violations of freedom of speech in Ukraine. Of them, the most violations were registered in the category “impediment to lawful journalist activities” – 9. At the same time, the number of violations, compared to February, reduced by two times (in February, there were 18 cases). This is the data of the monthly monitoring of the Institute of Mass information “Freedom of press barometer”.
The violations took place in 12 regions. Most cases were registered in Kyiv – 13, in other regions, one case was registered in each.
The right of journalist for their profession was violated by private individuals, law enforcement officers, local authorities, members of Parliament and local councils, and, in addition, “Myrotvorets” website.
The impediments related to ban to record various events: crack down on tent camp near the Parliament building (recording was forbidden to journalists of Insider and Hromadske), non-admission to events (right radicals did not allow journalist Mykola Myrnyi to cover discussion at Docudays), breaking cameras to filming crew of Volyn branch of National Public TV company of Ukraine in Kovel, and others.
Also, IMI experts registered growth in categories “threats” and “beatings” compared to February. In March, 7 threats were registered (in February – 2), beatings – 5 (in February – 2).
Of the seven cases of threats, five were registered in Kyiv. In particular, those are the threats to journalists Olga Reshetilova, who investigates “Andrew’s case”, journalist of Hromadske Anastasia Stanko for her investigation film about secret SBU prisons – “Myrotvorets” used her photo on their website. Threats from the leader of “Brotherhood” Dmytro Korchynskyi were received by TV channel ZIK. Also, journalist of Depo.ua was threatened by representative of “Batkivshchyna”, and the journalist of media outlet “Dilova stolytsia” received threats from unknown people.
The most high-profile cases of beatings registered in Kyiv was use of physical force against journalists by law enforcement officers on March 3 during the crack down on the tent camp near the building of the Parliament of Ukraine. In particular, photojournalist of Radio Liberty Serhiy Nuzhenko sustained chemical burn of his eyes due to gas spray used by law enforcement officer on him.
In addition, in Kyiv there are civilians who introduced themselves as Ukrainian police officers and tried to kidnap the Azerbaijan journalist Fikrat Guseinov, who was not able to leave Ukraine due to extradition verification.
Also, in March, IMI registered one case of each: damaging journalists’ property, legal pressure, and cyber attacks.
Thus, since the beginning of the year, IMI registered 32 cases of impediment, 10 cases of threats, 7 cases of beatings, and 5 cases of limitation of access to information.