IMI's statement in regard of violation of the rights of journalists in Crimea

20:12 03.03.2014

IMI informs the international community that in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea armed and masked men stop cars of filming crews of Ukrainian TV channels and under the threat of violence prevent journalists from timely covering the situation on the peninsula. 
 
Local TV channels are being intimidated and threatened with Molotov cocktails, their broadcasting is being made technically impossible, their editorial offices are being captured, camera operators beaten and web sites targeted by DDoS attacks. 
 
We were informed that on March 1 unidentified armed people blocked the roads to the Crimean peninsula and would not let journalists to Crimea. They take away thumb drives with footage, camera batteries and threaten to shoot without warning if somebody tries to film. These reports came from journalists of Hromadske.TV, Inter TV channel, and a German TV channel. 
 
Crimean journalists inform that they are not allowed to enter governmental buildings where the sessions of the parliament or of the government are being held. 
 
The pressure is especially severe on Crimean Tatar journalists. We recorded the fact that on a central square in Simferopol four thugs beat with rubber batons two camera operators of the local TV channel ATR. Unidentified masked men did not let the filming crew of this TV channel attend the press conference in the captured Council of Ministers of Crimea. 
 
Local journalists also noticed a peculiarity: representatives of Russian media outlet have no problems with access to governmental buildings and with staying there.
 
We encourage international journalists and advocacy organizations to address:
- the world media – as only Russian media outlets have an 'exclusive right' to access official information – to be critical to what Russian media outlets say and to thoroughly check the news from Russian TV channels about Crimea before rebroadcasting them;
- to the Russian Federation and the self-proclaimed authorities of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea – to encourage them to stop the discrimination of journalists and to secure equal and proper conditions for work for all media outlets. 


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