In the first half of the year 2017, the experts of the Institute of Mass Information recorded the total of 122 cases of violations of freedom of press in Ukraine, compared to 129 cases for the same period of 2016. These are the results of the Institute of Mass Information’s monthly monitoring “Barometer of freedom of press”. At the same time, if the count includes the occupied territories of Donbas and Crimea, the number of violations since the beginning of the year reaches 132 (for the same period of 2016 – 154).
The largest number of violations in the six months of 2017 was recorded in the category “obstruction to lawful professional activity of journalists” – 42 cases (for the same period of 2016 – 46 cases).
The second largest number of violations was in the category “limitation of access to public information”. This year, IMI experts observe the negative tendency in this category – in particular, since the beginning of the year 17 cases of violations connected to access to information were recorded – for the same period of 2016, 9 such cases were recorded.
The third largest number of violations was in the category ‘threats to journalists’ (14 cases), but the number of threats has decreased significantly compared to the same period of the last year (24 cases).
At the same time, IMI experts observe a decrease in physical aggression against journalists – since the beginning of the year, 9 attacks were recorded, compared to 23 cases, which were recorded during the same period of the last year.
The negative tendency of the first half of the year 2017 is the growing number of cases of damage to journalists’ property: since the beginning of the year, 9 such cases took place, compared to 2016, when only one such case was recorded.
Overall, in the first half of 2017, cases of violations of freedom of press took place in 20 oblasts of Ukraine. The largest number of such violations was recorded in Kyiv and Kyivska oblast – 30 cases, Poltavska oblast (12 cases) and two oblasts (Odeska and Mykolayivska), in each of which 9 cases were recorded.
For the context, this year Poltavska oblast for the first time made it to the top three by the number of violations of freedom of press: in the last two weeks of May alone, six cases of violations of journalists’ rights were recorded.
The ones violating journalists’ rights were: private individuals – 67 cases, local authorities – 18 cases, law enforcement and intelligence agencies – 9 cases, and the judiciary branch – 5 cases.
Also, for the first time since the beginning of the year, one case of abduction of a Ukrainian blogger in Donetsk under the occupation of the ‘DPR’’ militants – Stanislav Vasin (Aseyev) was recorded.
In Crimea occupied by Russia, IMI recorded 8 cases of violations of journalists’ rights and 2 cases – on the non-government controlled areas of Ukraine of Luhanska and Donetska oblasts. The ones violating freedom of press on the peninsula are predominantly the law enforcement of the occupation authorities – officers of FSB, Center “E” and others.
The monitoring is conducted with the support of «U-Media» (Internews Network) and the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.