Photo credit: UNESCO, EU Observer
On February 2019, the experts of IMI observed an increase in number of breaches to press freedom as to compare it to January figures. In particular, 29 cases of violations of the press freedom have been identified (16 cases on January), which happened in 13 regions of Ukraine. 17 amid it were physical aggression facts.
Such are the data gathered by the Institute of Mass Information in a monthly survey “Press freedom barometer”.
The main types of violations of the journalists’ rights were : obstruction to professional activity of journalist: 11 facts (7 similar facts on January) and threats: 5 facts (2 similar facts on January).
The most of violations of press freedom has been identified in Kyiv, 11 incidents, then Volyn region followed with five incidents and other regions of Ukraine had two or one of such incident.
The right to journalistic activity has been violated by some private persons, the law enforcement officers, the officials of the central or local administration, representatives of the candidadtes for the presidency and others.
For the first time this year, our experts have revealed the facts of surveillance over the journalists: 3 cases (to compare : only two of such cases had been identified during the whole 2018 year). On February the editorial board of the investigative program “Schemes: corruption in details claimed that over the past six months, its journalist Mykhaylo Tkach and the TV crew of the program were systematically followed by the security guards of the oligarch Rinat Akhmetov. Also the investigative journalist for Bihus.Info project Denys Bihus claimed its journalists are under surveillance by some unknown persons outside the editorial office. As to Denys Bihus, the following would be caused by the investigation made by its journalist Lesya Ivanova on corruption at defense sector.
Moreover, ІМІ identified an attempt of the general Prosecutor’s Office to break the right of the journalist to confidentiality of his source of information. In particular, the Pechersk district court in Kyiv provided the Prosecutor’s general office with an access to the internal documents of the editorial board of Novoe Vremya and to all materials that the journalist Ivan Verstyuk had sent to the addresses of electronic mails of the edition. But the decision of the Appeal court banned the access to the internal documents and correspondence of Ivan Verstyuk.
The journalists were threatened via Facebook messages and by phone. Some unknown persons placed a pork head at the entry of the editorial office of “Gordon”.
Also there were three incidents of cyber attacks against the journalists. In particular, the journalists received fishing messages, allowing to get access to their gmail messages. Also someone tried to get access to the Telegram messenger account of the journalist of “Schemes” program.
This month, we indentified two cases of restriction of access to public in formation for the journalists. Thus, in Zaporizhzhya region the department of tourism at municipal council replied to the journalistic inquiry letter three months later. The ministry of culture denied to get a copy of a document for the journalists of Ukrayinsky novyny, saying the document was inexistent.
The experts of IMI documented one act of assault against the editorial office (in Kalush an unknown person opened fire against the editorial office of Kalush FM) and one incident of censorship (Oleksiy Bratushchak, journalist for ZIK TV channel quitted job due to censorship and “strong partnership” with the Presidential administration).
Thus, since beginning of the year, IMI has revealed 18 incidents of obstruction of journalistic activity, 7 incidents of threatens to journalists, 5 incidents of involving access to information, 2 incidents of assaults and beatings and 1 incident of censorship.