IMI: «Obstruction to, and intimidation of journalists: members of electoral committees, former Party of Regions members, security guards»
In the period from September 19 to September 25, 2015, in Ukraine there were 6 registered cases of violations in the category «Physical aggression» and 2 cases in the category «Censorship. Access to information».
Last week was a hot one for journalists: the «amber rush» continues, and its coverage boomerangs to mass media staff. Members and chairs of electoral committees get brazen as they confront journalists – the committees started preparing for the October 25 elections: they try to get the journalists out of the room. In Khersonska oblast, an online and phone confrontation continues as the former Party of Regions member Oleksiy Zhuravko (former local «baron» from Tsuriupinsk) from the territory of Russia threatens to «deal» with the local blogger of the media outlet «Oleshshya Online», when Party of Region members «return to power».
Category «Physical aggression»
Residents of "amber" region of Volynska oblast (village of Lisne, Manevytskyi rayon) were obstructing journalists. About half a hundred men blocked the governor's car and the bus carrying journalists. According to the words of VolynPost media outlet journalist, the people threatened them and tried to not allow them to record the events. The people also yelled to the head of Volyn Oblast State Administration Volodymyr Hunchyk, “Shame on you! Where have you been before, whom were you covering?”.
In the town of Terebovlia, Ternopilska oblast, the head of a rayon electoral committee Veneria Reshetynska tried to expel from the committee session the journalist of the media outlet “Tochka Opory” Tetiana Denys.
In Ternopil, the journalist of the newspaper «Tochka opory» Volodymyr Dovhaniuk was not allowed to stay in the room of the electoral committee on the order of the head of Ternopil electoral committee Viktor Drozd. The OPORA website informed about this case.
In Mariupol, Donetska oblast, men wearing camouflage uniforms, who introduced themselves as security guards for the head of Donetsk Oblast State Administration Pavlo Zhebrivskyi, did not admit "Hromadske Donechchyny" journalists to the OSA head's press conference.
In Simferopol, unidentified young men were throwing eggs at the building, where the editorial office of the Crimean Tatar TV channel ATR is located, QHA informs. The men came to the building “SimCityTrans”, where the ATR editorial office is located, placed their posters and started throwing eggs.
A blogger from Tsuriupinsk (Khersonska oblast) and editor of “Oleshshya Online” Dmytro Voronov stated that on September 18 he again received phone threats from the former Parliament member from the Party of Regions Oleksiy Zhuravko. Voronov wrote about this on the website “Oleshshya Online”. “Today, I received another phone call from Oleksiy Valeriyovych Zhuravko with overt threats. This time, he used a "Kyivstar" phone number", Voronov wrote.
Category «Censorship. Access to public information»
In Volyn, the oblast administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs responded to an information request by the journalist of the online media outlet “VolynPost” Oksana Dolzhko on salaries of road police senior officers with a delay, and did not provide any actual information, just stated that this was personal data and as such cannot be disclosed without consent of the officials in question, and that consent was not granted for this.
The head of Ternopil city electoral committee Viktor Drozd refused to provide to the journalist of “Tochka Opory” Ihor Protsyk information on the time and place of the upcoming party conferences.
This report was prepared under the project «Network of media observers», implemented by IMI with support from Freedom House and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.