IMI: «During the holidays, journalists faced beatings and obstruction»
In the period from December 27, 2014, to January 9, 2015, IMI registered six cases of physical aggression, threats and obstruction of journalists’ work and one case in the category «Censorship. Access to information».
The period of the New Year and Christmas holidays in Ukraine was not very joyous for some Ukrainian journalists – they faced obstruction to their professional activities – on the very eve of New Year, on December 29 there were several cases of threats and even beatings of journalists (Ternopil, Kherson, Boryslav in Lvivska oblast).
In particular, IMI registered six cases of physical aggression and obstruction to professional activities of several journalists and media outlets:
- On December 27, in Kherson the Party of Regions deputy of Kherson city council Victor Shevchuk made a phone call to the editor-in-chief of the online media outlet "Khersonski Visti" Ihor Trubayev and threatened him, saying verbatim, ‘jokes are over’, as the journalist ‘wrote about very serious people.’
- On December 29, in Ternopil, Mykhailo Hladky, the deputy of Ternopil city council from the Electoral Association «Svoboda», attacked and beat a journalist Alisa Pasko for filming the celebration of the Lawyer’s Day at the restaurant he owns.
- On December 29, in Boryslav the editor-in-chief of the newspaper «Naftovyk Boryslava» Petro Mahur informed that at the session of the town council unidentified persons in fact took him hostage and pressured him severely.
- On January 1, in Kyiv there was a clash between the journalists of the Russian channel LifeNews and participants of a mass rally. Their camera was damaged, and the journalist’s cell phone was taken from her.
- On January 3, in Kyiv, citizens enraged by the New Year concert with participation of Moscow pop singers that aired on the Inter TV channel smashed the TV channel’s office windows with stones.
- On January 4, in Dnipropetrovsk blogger Vyacheslav Poyizdnyk was forbidden to record video in Industrialny rayon police department. A police officer on duty tried to block the camera lens with his hands and demanded to stop recording thus he ignored the legislative provisions on transparency of police work.
In some regions, the local authorities, as if there were no revolutionary changes in the country, keep sidetracking journalists’ requests for public information.
For instance, on January 6, the Chernivtsi newspaper «Molody Bukovynets», which sent the second request for information to Chernivtsi oblast council for copies of its deputies’ income, property and expenditure declarations, received another refusal. This time, their request was transferred to Chernivtsi oblast territorial electoral committee.
This report was prepared within the framework of the project «Network of media observers», implemented by ІМІ with support from Freedom House and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.