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IMI: Freedom of speech in October – seven obstructions for journalists

08.12.2016, 13:40

The main violations of journalists’ rights during October were cases of obstruction of journalists' activities, mostly in Kyiv, Poltava, Dnipropetrovsk, Transcarpathian, Khmelnnytskyi and Zaporizhia regions.


Kyiv and Poltava became leaders in violations of freedom of speech and journalists' rights. There are 6 and 4 cases in accordance.

Mostly ordinary and nameless citizens and guardians violate the right for professional activity in October.

In October, the number of obstructions (7) slightly decreased compared with September (8), yet the category remains the leader among violations.

Journalists could not attend the meeting of the public join-stock company "Kremenchukhaz" in Kremenchuk (Poltava region). One of the issues to consider during the meeting were acts of violation rules of gas use by residents. The member of the City Council, who represent the interests of the residents together with journalists, could not get into the session hall. Residents resent, argued that they won’t enter the hall without the media and the deputy.

In Kryvyi Rih (Dnipropetrovsk region), "Municipal Guard" didn’t let journalists through to the plenary meeting of the City Council. According to Yevgen Pavlov journalist of "ExpertKR", the agenda of the meeting had a several hot issues. In particular, the fate of the 0.24 hectares of land in the city center, which local authorities would transfer to the UOC (MP) (Ukrainian Ortodox Church (Moscow Patriarchy)) for a lifelong and free use. Therefore, activists who are against such plans came to the City Council protesting and trying to enter the session hall. Herewith the journalists had obstacles in access to the hall.

The USSR supporters impede the filming by journalists of the online media "Informator" in Dnipro city. The incident occurred during a rally of the "Officers’ union" representatives about "Dnieper liberation from Nazi invaders". The woman came closer to participants of the rally near the monument to General Pushkin because she was angry about the use of Soviet symbols. The operator began to film it when one of the men grabbed the camera lens, began to shout: "You are filming people without permission, you are Bandera press." He jam the lens strongly. Police representatives were observing.

In Zaporizhia, Oleksandr Kryzhanivsky the journalist of "Channel 24"  who wanted to interview the Director of Zaporozhye Titanium & Magnesium Combine, appealed to police on the case interfering his work by the plant guard.

In Poltava, the bodyguard of TV presenter, Olga Freimut, hinder the work of local journalists during the filming the program within the "New Inspector Freimut. Cities " project.

IMI also recorded 2 cases of beatings and attacks on journalists in October. The same amount was recorded last month. Cases of beatings took place in Khmelnnytskyi (The Director of meat Processing Plans "Proskuriv Meat" hit the presenter Olga Freimut during the filming "New Freimut inspector. Cities") and in Kyiv region (sand poacher attacked Pavlo Yantsens, operator of the "Stop corruption" portal, and physically injuried him).

There were 1 case of threats - false mining of the office "112 Ukraine" channel. In October was recorded the least number of threats since the beginning of the year.

In addition, in October IMI recorded a decrease the instances of limiting access to information - 2.

In Mukachevo (Transcarpathian region), municipal enterprise "Mukachivvodokanal" don’t provide journalists with information on the financial statements for 2015. Acting company director N.Kelemen in response to the correspondent of the "Bureau of Investigative Journalism"Varto Znaty" (worth to KNOW) request, said that he can only provide information on the use of public funds. The other information about the financial statements Director considers confidential, which is not true.

In Poltava, Lyudmyla Kryvobok, the "UNN Centre" correspondent, received a deny in response to request sent to the Poltava City Council. The Department of the Communal-Housing sector of the Executive Committee of the Poltava City Council (request executor) motivated the failure to provide information that: “documented information in the Unified State Register of legal entities, individual entrepreneurs and community groups and NGOs and in the Register of civic unions the request for information regarding the identity of the title Ukrainian national news, UNN Centre, do not give the possibility to acknowledge legal definition of specified person and in particular, to carry out a proper legal assessment in terms of having right to address the information request ".

Besides, there is recorded 1 case of cyber-attacks, unlawful search, legal pressure.

Violation of journalists' rights in the territories occupied by "DNR" and "LNR"

The "Tribunal" website published personal data of three employees of Donetsk Regional Directorate of the National Television Company of Ukraine ( "Do TeBe" (To You)).

Since the beginning of the year, IMI registered one murder, 86 cases of obstruction of journalists' activities, 28 cases of beatings and attacks on journalists and 7 cases of censorship.

"Freedom of Speech Barometer" is an analytical product of monthly monitoring of freedom of speech in Ukraine, conducted by NGO "Institute of Mass Information" in support of "U-Media" project, implemented by "Internews Network" supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and by support Non-Profit Organization "National Endowment for Democracy» (NED). The "Network of media observers", working within the "Freedom of Speech Barometer" project, funded with support from Freedom House, the international human rights organization, and the Foreign Ministry of Norway.


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