Press Freedom Barometer for December 2013
In December, IMI registered the largest number of violations in the category «beatings and assaults» – 49 cases. The number of such cases compared to November grew fivefold – (in November – 9, in October – 5, and in September - 4). In December, the number of cyber crimes against journalists and media outlets grew almost seven times – 20 such cases (in November – 3, in October – 14, and in September – 4). This data was presented in the Institute of Mass Information’s monthly monitoring – «Press Freedom Barometer.»
Also, in December the number of censorship cases grew – 12 (in November – 11, in October – 3, and in September – 1) and 10 cases of obstruction to lawful professional journalist activities (in November – 5, in October – 15, and in September - 11).
Besides, in December 8 cases of threats and intimidation of journalists were registered (in November IMI registered no such cases at all).
This month, IMI also registered two cases each of journalists being arrested, foreign journalists not allowed to enter the country, and attacks on media outlets’ offices, none of which were registered in November.
Also, in December one case of search was registered, with no such cases in November, and one case of economic pressure and one lawsuit from journalists.
At the same time, in December the number of cases of political pressure decreased to one case (in November – 4, in October – 3, and in September - 5).
Thus, since the beginning of the year, IMI registered 139 cases of assaults and threats against journalists, 130 cases of obstructions to journalists’ lawful professional activities, 63 cases of censorship and 46 cases of political and economic pressure.
The most resonant and unprecedented violations of freedom of speech and journalists’ rights in December were the cases of beatings and assaults against representatives of media outlets, both Ukrainian and foreign, that covered EuroMaidan actions. The prevalent majority of journalists were injured on December 1, when the special tactical unit ‘Berkut’ was dispersing the rally participants in Kyiv on Bankova Street. Many journalists were beaten, with bloodied heads, broken arms, or kicked till they were unconscious. Also, journalists were injured with fragments from flash bang grenades, which were used during the crackdown on the demonstration. There were also people who lost consciousness due to these гранати. At that, as the journalists in their comments for IMI and other media outlets pointed out, they had a feeling that the journalists had been targeted on purpose. A lot of them introduced themselves when the Berkut fighters were dispersing the rally participants, showed their journalist IDs, kept their equipment in hands – but, despite all that, the Berkut fighters still were beating journalists, pried their equipment from their hands and destroyed it.
The number of the injured journalists IMI registered in December is the largest compared to other months of this year.
Besides, in December the journalist and EuroMaidan activist Tetiana Chornovol was savagely beaten. She noticed she was being tailed, when she was returning home to village Hora. An unknown car started to push hers to the roadside and hit it with its body. When Chornovol stopped, two men ran out of the car, broke the window, pulled her out and beat her. On that night, on December 24, Tetiana went to make photos of the mansions owned by the Minister of Internal Affairs Vitaly Zakharchenko and the Prosecutor General Victor Pshonka. During her last photo shoot, she was followed.
The growing number of cyber attacks against online media outlets is also connected with their coverage of EuroMaidan actions. Many leading central online media outlets, which ran live feeds from EuroMaidan, underwent DDoS attacks, in particular, Ukrainska Pravda, the websites of Radio Liberty and of the TV Channel 5. Besides, regional websites, which were also covering local EuroMaidans in their oblasts, experienced hacker attacks, as well. These were the ZIK, Zaxid.net, Zakarpattia Online, and Zhytomyr.info websites.
In December, cases of censorship became indicative as to the status of freedom of speech in Ukraine. Censorship in December was about limitation and dissemination of information concerning EuroMaidan actions. For instance, the Telekrytyka video titled “Berkut to journalists: "Bitches, We Will Show You Freedom of Speech!" was removed from the YouTube video hosting. The Telekrytyka’s video digest presented the video evidence of crimes committed by the law-enforcement agencies against representatives of media outlets on December 1 in Kyiv on Bankova Street. This video was taken down due to the claim concerning the copyright from the Department of Public Relations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.
Besides, while the prevalent majority of media outlets was informing about beatings of journalists on December 1 and events of EuroMaidan, the parliamentary TV channel «Rada» started rotating a series of interviews of Ministers of the Cabient of Ministers. The vice-Prime ministers Yuri Boyko, Kostiantyn Gryshchenko, and Oleksander Vilkul were talking about how instability impacts the economy and how the Eurointegrational direction has not changed, despite delay in signing of the association agreement with the European Union.
Due to their dissent with the editorial policy three journalists resigned from the First National channel resigned. Also, due to censorship the team of the Presidential Administration Sergiy Liovochkin, which held the managerial positions on the Inter TV channel, resigned. For the context, during December Inter was covering EuroMaidan in the news extensively.
In Zhytomyr, the journalists of the Oblast State TV and Radio Company were forbidden to air a story in support of their colleagues beaten in Kyiv. Like in previous months, unidentified persons are sparing no effort in disrupting the screenings of the documentary almanac "Open Access", this time they did so in Luhansk.
The prevalent majority of obstruction cases in December were connected to local re-elections, EuroMaidan events, denying journalists access to various events, and prohibition of photo shooting.
Arrests – 2
04.12.2013. Shevchenkivsky rayon court of the city of Kyiv arrested for two months Dnipropetrovsk journalist, co-founder of the newspaper «Litsa» Valeriy Garaguts, who is accused of participating in mass disturbances near the Presidential Administration. This was reported by the journalists present at the court hearing, informs Telekrytyka.
As the press service of Kyiv prosecutor's office informed, the court chose this preventive measure (arrest) for all nine suspects, who were detained on December 1, after considering the solicitation of the investigator in the criminal proceedings opened under part 1 Article 294 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (mass disturbances accompanied with violence and resistance to representatives of the authorities using arms or other items as arms).
Valeriy Garaguts was beaten by Berkut fighters along with numerous other journalists, he was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. Later he submitted a complaint on unlawful detention, abuse of power, a crime against citizen's freedom and obstruction to professional journalist activities. This complaint was registered with Shevchenkivsky rayon department of police.
09.12.2013 In Lviv, unidentified persons abducted Oleh Panas, photographer and EuroMaidan activist. Earlier in Kyiv on December 1, Panas had been making photos of the fight near the Presidential Administration on Bankova. Panas is a part time news photographer of the newspaper «Vynnykivsky Visnyk», the informational website «Vynnyky Plus» and the newspaper «Uspensky Visnyk.»
Igor Panas shared the details of how his son was detained: “Yesterday, approximately at half past noon, he went downtown. Near “Magnus”, three men wearing civilian clothes accused him of stealing a cell phone, grabbed him and forced him into a blue VAZ-2107 car. They showed some old cell phone as a proof. We have witnesses, we have photos. They took him to the police station at Hryhorenka str. Later Rudiak was lying that Oleh was already sent to Kyiv – in fact he was held here until 3 p.m., only then he was transported. At night I received a call that he was at Kosohorna Street in Kyiv. Today at noon, the case will be considered by Shevchenkivskyi court of Kyiv city. He is accused of attacking “Berkut”.
Still, according to his father’s words, Oleh was not at Bankova on December 1. At night on the eve of November 30, he was beaten at Maidan, his camera was broken. The law enforcers explained that Oleh was detained because of the photographs he took, which he placed on the Internet and which were published by Reuters Agency.
On December 10, Pechersk district court of Kyiv placed Oleh Panas udner a two-month arrest for participation in mass disturbances.
Threats and intimidation – 8
05.12.2013. On December 5, the Party of Regions deputy of Vynogradiv rayon council of Zakarpattia oblast Yuri Dovbak threatened with violence the editor of the local independent weekly "Chorna Gora" Volodymyr Mocharnyk. This was reported by Zakarpattia Online.
During the session of Vynogradiv rayon council, which was supposed to consider the issue of the current political situation in the country, Dovbak explained that he did not like how the weekly presented his activities and said that he would end up doing a prison term for running its editor over with a car.
The journalist, whose car was earlier burned by unknown perpetrators, submitted a complaint with the police. Dovbak’s threats were preliminarily qualified as a threat to murder.
06.12.2013. The journalist of the online portal «Franko Times» Vasyl Kraynyk received several text message with threats on his cell phone, the media outlet's website informs. The threats came on the eve of December 5 from an unidentified number (+38 066 067 36 33). After the journalist received the messages he tried to call this number but it was already disconnected. The threats suggested that journalists of «Franko Times» better stop what they are doing otherwise they would have a lot of problems both at work and in their university (the journalists «Franko Times» Vasyl Kraynyk and Ivan Kharkiv are students of Vasyl Stefanyk Prykarpattia National University - «Franko Times»). In connection with the threats, the journalists submitted a complaint to the police and the Security Service of Ukraine with a request to find those who threatened them.
09.12.2013. About two dozens unidentified young men are trying to get into the building of the «Leninska Kuznia» plant, where the office of Channel 5 is located. The editor-in-chief of Channel 5 Volodymyr Mzhelskiy informed about this on his Facebook page; also, the anchor Viktoria Siumar said this on air. «They try to persuade the security that they came to defend the channel. Yet among them, there are some people who are drunk», Mzhelskiy wrote. At that, they do not say who sent them and whom they want to protect the office against. «It was their second visit. An hour ago they came, but the security did not let them through», - Mzhelskoy said. Channel 5 staff called the police and is waiting for the police unit’s arrival.
11.12.2013. In Cherkasy, unidentified thugs, who were present at the removal of the tent of the HQ of National Resistance by police officers, threatened to smash the camera of the journalist of the «Procherk» media outlet Nazariy Vivcharyk, the media outlet's website informed.
As the journalist reported, when he was making a video, unidentified men threatened to smash his camera if he dared turn their way.
12.12.2013. On December 12, in Kyiv, at the crossing of Sadova and Instytutska Streets, the correspondent of Ivano-Frankivsk media outlet Reporter Natalia Dzhulai was threatened by the member of the Berkut special unit, as the Reporter website informs.
The fighters were scrubbing off the offensive inscriptions left on their buses by protesters, and the journalist photographed this, but one of the fighters did not like it and rudely demanded to delete the photo, grabbing the woman by her clothes and trying to pry the camera out of her hands. As there were people around, he did not manage to do this and backed away.
14.12.2013. On December 14, in the city of Volodarsk-Volynskyi, unknown individuals threatened the freelance journalist Serhiy Sivachenko (pen name Pavlo Kurhanskiy). He himself told Telekrytyka about this.
According to the freelancer, around 9 p.m. he recorded the facts of treating the rally participants at the city central square. Several people were marking the list of those who arrived in buses from Kyiv and bargaining on how much to pay them for participating in the actions in the capital.
When they noticed that the journalist had a camera, three men from this group started to demand to give them the camera and threatened him: «We will call police now, and you are dead!»
«As I did not hear any clear introduction from them, I turned around and went away. After discussing something between themselves, these men, probably supervisors of the bus trip, ran after me. One of those, who chased me, called himself the prosecutor, Yosyp Honhalo, another one called himself Petrenko», Sivachenko told.
After they failed to outrun the journalist, they chased him in two cars, cut his escape on the sidewalk and started to threaten to beat him. Yet, the journalist asked passers-by for help and photographed the attackers. They decided not to pursue and left.
The journalist said he decided not to contact the law enforcement agencies about this case.
7. In Chernihiv, young thugs threatened journalist for filming them
14.12.2013. On December 14, in downtown Chernihiv unidentified young thugs threatened the journalist of the media outlet “All-Ukrainian Association “Svoboda” Oleksiy Frantsuz with physical violence, tried to pry his phone out of his hands and to smash it. He informed about it in his comment to IMI. According to him, the thugs were threatening him because he was making photos of them on his phone. As Frantsuz explained, they just returned from Kyiv where they participated in the AntiMaidan (government-paid rally against EuroMaidan), so he decided to record this moment. He showed them his journalist's ID and explained that he was doing his job but this did not stop them, so the journalist came up to a police patrol and this scared them off.
31.12.2013. In his interview for "Videoteka" about the results of 2013, the journalist and political writer Vitaliy Portnykov claims he is being followed by two outdoor surveillance cars. Portnykov was openly supporting EuroMaidan from the start and is a member of the Board of the public association "Maidan."
Beatings , assaults – 49
1. On Bankova, Berkut fighters cruelly beat Euronews TV channel camera operator
01.12.2013. Berkut fighters cruelly beat Roman Kupriyanov, the Euronews TV channel camera operator. This was reported by his Euronews colleagues.
According to the journalists, Roman Kupriyanov was filming a man who was on the ground motionless after the Berkut’s attack on Bankova street. Berkut fighters ordered him to stop filming but he went on and then they beat him. Currently he is at hospital, diagnosed with a concussion.
01.12.2013. A Berkut fighter hit Dmytro Prykhno, the camera operator and news photographer of the information agency «Poriad z vamy», on the head with a truncheon despite his journalist badge. It took place on Institutska street in Kyiv after the confrontations between police and protesters. He was taken to hospital with an injury to his head and had it stitched.
3. Polish journalist injured at Bankova street
01.12.2013. The Polish journalist Pawel Pieni??ek was injured by Berkut fighters in Kyiv, when covering the events at Bankova in the afternoon. This was reported published by Radio Liberty with reference to the Polish TV channel TVN24. His head was hit 10 times during one of the law enforcers' attacks against the rallying people.
01.12.2013. The Associated Press journalist Serhiy Chuzavkov was hospitalized with a head injury after the clashes between rally members and police in Kyiv: a piece of brick fell on his helmet.
01.12.2013. In Kyiv, on Bankova Street the EPA European Pressphoto Agency photographer Sergiy Dolzhenko was injured by a Berkut fighter. As Dolzhenko told "Telekrytyka", a Berkut fighter came up to him and started to smash his equipment and him on the hand instead. Another one came up and hit him on arms and on the head. He was lucky to end up with but a couple of bruises. He decided not to prosecute those who attacked him.
01.12.2013. In Kyiv, on Bankova Street the Berkut fighters injured photographer Anatoliy Stepanov's head and broke his arm – in spite of his declarations that he was a journalist; they also smashed his camera flare and lens. But it was internal troops soldiers who provided him medical assistance at the scene – they treated his wounds and bandaged his head; they provided medical assistance to a lot of injured journalists and regular citizens.
7. Berkut fighters brutally beat LIGABiznesInform photographer
01.12.2013. The LIGABiznesInform photojournalist Oleksander Perevoznyk was beaten by police officers when covering the protest rally on Bankova Street. Around 4 pm., when Berkut was pushing rally participants and instigators out of Bankova street to Instytutska street, the news photographer was attacked by about eight Berkut fighters. He was telling them he was a journalist but nobody listened. Later one of them helped him to stand up and took him to volunteer medical doctors who provided him with first aid. Perevoznyk had a head injury and his camera was damaged. He also was exposed to the tear gas.
01.12.2013. In Kyiv, on Bankova Street a camera operator Oleksander Zakletsky was beaten by police. He got injures on his arms and legs, and his camera flare was crushed.
01.12.2013. In Kyiv, during the confrontations on Bankova Street the Ukrainska Pravda news photographer Dmytro Larin was almost beaten by Berkut fighters. A Berkut fighter ignored his orange jacket, tore his journalist badge, and hit him several times, but he managed to escape and hide in a building nearby. According to Larin, on Bankova Street there were about several thousand police officers, and Berkut fighters were beating everybody indiscriminately, be it journalists or activists. He was with a group of people who were being beaten and had he not escaped he would have suffered, too. The only thing he lost was his ID that was snatched from him. As he reported, it was instigators who encouraged young people to attack the police, and when they did the instigators themselves quickly dispersed.
01.12.2013. The UNIAN news photographer Yevhen Maloletka also was injured during the events near the Presidential Administration. He was attacked by Berkut. When Berkut fighters started to disperse the crowd he tried to escape while making photos of what was happening. He was spotted by one of the Berkut fighters, who ran to him and started to beat him with a truncheon. When the photographer fell on the ground he was kicked in the back, legs, arms and head. As a result, one of his arms is broken and needs surgery.
01.12.2013. In Kyiv, during confrontations on Bankova Street the editor-in-chief of the online media outlet Tsensor.net Yuriy Butusov got his head beaten in, the media outlet's website informs. Butusov was covering the confrontation between Instigators and Berkut throwing at each other pavement stones and bricks, when a stone thrown by one of the police officers hit him in the head. An ambulance took him to hospital with a broken forehead bone.
01.12.2013. The journalist of the TV program «Groshi» Denys Danko was injured in the head, arms, and legs during the confrontation between protesters and Berkut fighters near the building of the Presidential Administration in Kyiv. He pointed out that Berkut fighters were clearly aware they were beating journalists.
01.12.2013. On December 1, the journalist of the TV program «Groshi» (1+1 TV channel) Dmytro Volkov was filming a news story about the events on Bankova, when he was attacked by Berkut. One of Berkut fighters smashed his phone, and another one threw a stone in the journalist's back and hit him with a truncheon. The journalist was wearing a clearly visible 1+1 badge.
01.12.2013. During the events on December 1 on Bankova Street, Oleg Khavruk, Komentari deputy editor-in-chief, got an injury to the head (several stitches), contusions to his arm and back. He was near the Presidential Administration covering the events on a distance from the fight itself, when a Berkut fighter hit him with a wooden stick, and a soldier of internal troops hit his with a truncheon on the head. Khavruk submitted a complaint to the police and intended to turn to the prosecutor's office.
01.12.2013. In Kyiv, on Bankova Street Berkut fighters beat Anton Chernysh, a news photographer of the newspaper “Segodnia”, snatched the camera from his hands and thrashed it to pieces, despite him holding a photo camera and wearing a badge.
01.12.2013. On Bankova Street in Kyiv, the journalist of “Ukrainska Pravda” Mustafa Nayem suffered from a gas attack and was hit on the head by a Berkut fighter.
17. Danish journalist injured during crackdown on EuroMaidan
01.12.2013. In Kyiv after the crackdown on the EuroMaidan rally, the Danish journalist Johannes Vamberg Andersen was injured. Police officers were interfering with him filming and hit him on the head several times.
01.12.2013. During the crackdown on protesters on Bankova Street, Maksym Kudynets, 'Insider' news photographer was injured by Berkut fighters, who were aiming for his legs and his back, despite him holding a photo camera and telling them he was 'press'.
01.12.2013. In Kyiv, during the crackdown on the rally participants on Bankova Street Berkut fighters beat Mykhailo Zagorsky, 'Zhytomyr.info' photographer. According to him, he was filming sitting on a window seal, and saw how camera operators and photographers were beaten, jumped down and tried to escape, was showing his journalist ID and shouting that he was press, his ID was knocked out of his hands and he was beaten with a truncheon so he lost consciousness. His temple was bleeding and he was treated on site in an ambulance. He submitted a complaint to the prosecutor's office in Kyiv concerning these events. He was summoned to the prosecutor's office in Zhytomyr, where he gave testimony.
01.12.2013. In Kyiv, during the crackdown on the rally participants on Bankova Street Mstyslav Chernov, a news photographer of the agency "Mediaport", was injured by Berkut fighters. He had a photo camera and showed his badge but a Berkut fighter kept hitting him with a truncheon. The fighter was also trying to smash his camera, but the news photographer hid it under his body. He ended up with a crack in an arm and heavy bruising. Based on the fact of assault, Chernov submitted a complaint to the prosecutor's office of Kyiv.
01.12.2013. In Kyiv, during the confrontation between protesters and Berkut fighters bear the building of the Presidential Administration, Berkut fighters tried to take away the camera from Yevhen Feldman, the news photographer of «Novaia Gazeta» (Russia). He was wearing a bright orange PRESS vest. They did not beat him, although he was affected by the tear gas and was hit by a stone near the monument to Lenin.
01.12.2013. In Kyiv, during the confrontation between protester and Berkut fighters near the building of the Presidential Administration Berkut fighters beat Emin Kalantarov, a camera operator of LifeNews, Moscow. According to Yevhen Feldman, a news photographer of «Novaia Gazeta» (Russia), who reported this, three Berkut fighters were hitting him with truncheons for a minute, injured his arm, and took away his camera.
24.11.2013 In Kyiv, when filming on EuroMaidan Oleksander Furman, a news photographer of "Delo.ua", was hit on the leg by a police officer. According to him, the police officer did not do it on purpose. This took place when police officers started to push rally participants from the traffic area on Khreshchaty. So he believes the hit was intended for a rally participant.
01.12.2013. During the confrontations on Bankova Street in Kyiv, Ivan Chernichkin, a news photographer of the newspaper “Kapital”, got leg injures from a sound bomb, which fell near him.
01.12.2013 In Kyiv, on Bankova Street Yevhen Holovatiuk, a Ukrainian News journalist, was injured. He lost consciousness after a flash bang grenade went off within one meter from him. It was thrown into the crowd, it rolled closer to him and went off. He lost consciousness and got a lungful of the gas. He regained his senses in about an hour with a head and ear ache and troubled breathing. In connection with this incident, he was summoned to the prosecutor's office of Kyiv, where he gave testimony. Criminal proceedings were initiated concerning abuse of power by Berkut fighters.
01.12.2013. In Kyiv, on Bankova Street a grenade went off and injured Ivan Marusenko, Tsensor.net journalist, in the leg. He ran a live broadcast of the events near the Presidential Administration, when a flash bang grenade from Berkut went off near him and another one shortly after. The explosion tore the lower parts of his jeans and grenade's plastic frags burnt in his leg. He did not file any complaints with the police as he did not believe anybody would answer for it.
01.12.2013 In Kyiv, on Bankova Street Berkut fighters brutally beat Sergiy Yurchenko, a correspondent of the informational portal «Novoross.info». On Bankova, he was making a photo reportage for the portal. When Berkut started to attack, Berkut fighters threw stones at him, hit him with truncheons, and one of them kicked him in the face with his jackboot. He was covered with blood. At hospital his head was stitched, he was diagnosed with a broken finger and fractures in the skull bones. He returned home and spent 21 days in hospital.
01.12.2013 In Kyiv, on Bankova Street Joseph Syvenkiy, a news photographer of the newspaper 'The New York Times', was injured. He was covering the confrontation near the Presidential Administration on Bankova, when either a sound bomb or a gas tank exploded right in front of him, and several frags hit him in the face.
01.12.2013. The Ukrainsky Tyzhden journalist Valeria Burlakova was injured during the confrontations near the Presidential Administration on Bankova Street. One of the sound bombs blew up near her feet. She was treated by an ambulance team on site.
01.12.2013. In Kyiv, on Bankova Street Maks Levin, LB.ua news photographer, was injured. The journalist was making photos of the events near the Presidential Administration, when Berkut and protesters were throwing smoke grenades at each other, and one of the grenades exploded near Levin. He suffered serious contusions and bruising, his footwear and clothing, as well as his camera were damaged.
01.12.2013. Oleksiy Osyka, the camera operator of the program 'TSN' of the “1+1” TV channel, was injured on December 1 during the clashes on Bankova Street in Kyiv. He was standing on Bankova, on the protesters' side, when a stone thrown from the side of Berkut hit him in the head. He pointed out that pavement stones were flying both ways.
01.12.2013. Valeriy Kolosiuk, a news photographer, editor and founder of the online portal 'Aratta. Vikno v Ukrainu" was injured by Berkut fighters on Bankova Street in Kyiv. He has a large bruise on his temple and contusions of legs and arms. Just before the clashes started those who were throwing stones left, and Berkut started attacking. Berkut fighters knocked him off his feet, hit him with a truncheon on the head and on both arms, breaking his left arm and smashing his camera. A young police officer helped him to his feet and led him to the sidewalk. Based on his complaint, proceedings were initiated under two articles – obstruction of journalist activities and abuse of power by Berkut fighters.
01.12.2013. On December 1, Berkut fighters beat Zurab Dzhavakhadze, an ITAR-TASS news photographer, in Kyiv on Bankova Street. Near the Presidential Administration, when Berkut attacked the protesters, one of Berkut fighters forced him to the ground, and he covered his head with his hand holding a camera lens. Several more Berkut fighters started to beat him with truncheons on the back, the head and legs. His back was saved by a plastic bottle with water in his backpack, and his head – with the lens, which was smashed as a result. A soldier of internal troops stopped the Berkut fighters, helped him on his feet and led him out.
01.12.2013. In Kyiv, on Bankova Street Oleksander Zhogalko, the editor-in-chief of Chernigiv website “Pivnichny Vector”, was injured by a flash bang grenade, which hit him in his right temple. It was thrown by Berkut fighters. He was diagnosed with concussion. He spent 10 days in hospital recuperating. On the day he was injured he submitted a complaint to Pechersk rayon department of police of Kyiv about causing injuries.
01.12.2013. In Kyiv, on Bankova Street Oleksander Senko, a special correspondent of the newspaper “Antykoruptsiyne Buro Ukrainy” was assaulted by Berkut fighters. He went to Bankova to make photos of the events going down there. Berkut fighters attacked him, when he tried to make a photo of them beating a 17-year old girl. They hit him with truncheons on legs till he fell.
01.12.2013. The prosecutor's office of Kyiv initiated criminal proceedings on the beating of Valeriy Garaguts, a Dnipropetrovsk journalist and co-founder of the newspaper «Litsa», who on December 2 was informed that he was a suspect under Article 294, part 1 «Organization of mass disturbances». For the context, Shevchenkivsky district court of the city of Kyiv arrested Garaguts for two months, as he was accused of participation in mass disturbances near the Presidential Administration on December 1. The journalist's lawyer intends to challenge the arrest as he deems it unlawful.
01.12.2013 In Kyiv, Sergiy Nikolayev, a photographer of the newspaper “Segodnia”, was assaulted by Berkut fighters on Bankova Street. He had his badge on his chest and a camera in his hand, and still a Berkut fighter hit him on the head and on the arms. He had a concussion.
01.12.2013. Igor Volosiankin, the editor of Nizhyn online media outlet Uezndye Novosti, was hit in the back of his head by a stone and had a lungful of the tear gas during the confrontation in Kyiv on Bankova Street. He does not know who threw the stone and whether it was intentional.
01.12.2013. Denys Bigus, a journalist of «Nashi Groshi» and ZIK, suffered significantly from the tear gas on Bankova Street in Kyiv.
40. During crackdown on demonstration on Bankova, freelance photographer injured
01.12.2013. Sergiy Polezhaka, a freelance photograpger, was injured during the Berkut's crackdown on the demonstration on on Bankova Street on December 1 2013. He received blows to his hands and to his camera, the lens was damaged.
41. AFP photographer from Moscow hit by flash bang grenade during events on Bankova
01.12.2013. Vasyl Maksymov, a Moscow news photographer of the international news agency AFP was injured during the crackdown on the demonstration on Bankova on December 1, 2013. In particular, frags of the flash bang grenade hit him in the knee and caused an injury.
42. Photographer of RIA «Novosti» hit with brick in face
01.12.2013. Andriy Stenin, a RIA «Novosti» photographer, was hit in the face with a brick during the events on Bankova Street in Kyiv on December 1. The photographer was not injured only because he was wearing a gas mask, which protected his face.
11.12.2013. During the confrontation on the barricades in downtown Kyiv, Berkut was smashing journalists' cameras and throwing them away from EuroMaidan. During such actions Kyrylo Kniazev, a “Komentari” journalist, was injured. Around 2 a.m., immediately after the first barricade from the side of European Square was breached, several journalists ended up behind the Berkut line. Journalists were manhandled to stop them from filming. When the rally participants tried to seal the breach in the barricades, several journalists ended up between the Berkut line and rally participants. Despite their PRESS vests and running cameras, Berkut fighters pressed them with their shields and treated them as violently as the rest of the rally participants. In particular, they smashed the camera of Kyrylo Kniazev, a «Komentari» journalist, and pushed him around.
44. "Road Control" journalist beaten in elevator
16.12.2013. In the evening of December 16 in Kyiv, the "Road Control" journalist Svitlana Malitska was attacked by two unidentified men, the Road Control website informs.
As the media outlet describes it, two unknown men were waiting for Svitlana near her apartment building, and entered the elevator together with her. Right after this, one of the attackers (around 30 years old) started to strangle the journalist. His accomplice (who looked like a 50-year-old) was watching this. During the attack, the criminal said: "You road b*tch, we have enough off-roads for you". After this, the attacker started to punch Svitlana. The men were spooked by local residents. After the journalist recovered from shock, she called police. Svitlana testified right on the spot, and after this ambulance took her to hospital. The investigation team visited her there later. At the video published on the Road Control website, Svitlana told the police she was walking the dog and noticed two men watching her. Later these men attacked her inside the building. “I was grabbed by my throat. I was beaten, and they tried to strangle me”, Malytska told the police. According to her, nothing was taken from her. “I think this is a direct threat related to my professional activities”, Malytska said. As the media outlet describes it, Svitlana Malytska is a professional press photographer, for many years she has been working in well-known Ukrainian media outlets. Road Control met Svitlana in December of 2009, at a road police vehicle compound at Zaliznychne Shose Street. Her car was placed there, against the law, by road police officers Servetnyk and Babin. Road Control helped Svitlana in this situation and prepared all documents for the court, and, as a result, they were able to close down the compound. In several years, based on this story, Road Control prepared dozens of law-related publications, also there were many high-profile TV stories concerning falsifications by road police officers.
30.11.2013. On the eve of November 30, during the crackdown on the EuroMaidan rally in Kyiv on Maidan Nezalezhnosti Berkut fighters beat Polish journalist Tomasz Piechal. On the night of the crackdown, he was staying with people on EuroMaidan. When the Berkut attack started, fighters were hitting him on the head, punching and kicking him.
46. In Kyiv, Road Control activist assaulted and shot
21.12.2013. On December 21, in Kyiv around 11 p.m. near Shevchenko Square the Road Control activist Volodymyr Moralov was assaulted, the Road Control website informs. The attackers blocked his car, entered it and pulled him over to the backseat. Moralov started to shoot at them, one bullet hit one of the attackers, and another one hit the windshield, then the attackers took the gun away from the activist. They pulled him out of the car, pushed a gun against his chest and asked where Andriy Dzidzia lives, where they keep their equipment and the thumb drive with the footage. He said he did not know, and they shot him. After this Moralov's car was burned to the ground. This was reported in a phone conversation by the head of the Road Control's press service Yegor Vorobiov. The activist was taken to a local hospital for emergency treatment of his chest wound; police officers went there to talk to him. They have started a criminal investigation of the assault and of the burning of the car.
47. In Dnipropetrovsk, three men attacked journalist who was filming road accident
On December 22, in Dnipropetrovsk three unidentified men assaulted the journalist of the local newspaper Zoria Viacheslav Poyezdnik, Zoria reported. They assaulted the journalist at 8.45 p.m. as he was filming the aftermath of a road accident, where a Lexus ran into an intercity bus. The men started to mess with Poyezdnik and tried to pry his camera from his hands. The journalist introduced himself and showed his ID but to no avail. They pushed him to the ground and started to kick him, so the road police officers on site tried to stop them, so he escaped from them and ran. He returned a little bit later to film both the accident and the attackers, but they assaulted him again, and he ran to the police officers, but they just told him to stop meddling in their work and did not detain the attackers.
48. Unidentified men brutally assaulted Tetiana Chornovol
24.12.2013. On the eve of December 25, unidentified men assaulted the journalist and EuroMaidan activist Tetiana Chornovol, Ukrainska Pravda reports. The assault took place in Boryspil. According to Tetiana Chornovol, she was taking a turn to the village Gora, where she lives, when she noticed she was being tailed. She took a sharp turn back to Boryspil, but the car that followed her started to push her car to the roadside and rammed several times. She stopped the car. Two men ran out of the pursuing car and broke the back window in her car. She jumped out of the car and tried to escape, but they caught her and started beating her and then just left her in a ditch. According to the police, on December 25 at 0.40 a.m. outside the city on the road Kyiv-Boryspil road police officers found a car on a roadside. Not far from it in a ditch they saw an injured woman. They rendered her first aid.
The police investigation and operational group arrived to the site and identified the injured woman as Tetiana Chornovil. She was not able to describe the attackers. The police brought her to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a concussion, numerous bruises, a broken nose and several fractures, and she was not able to walk by herself; she was taken into surgery to have her face stitched up. She will require more surgeries.
Her relatives received a call about her already from the hospital. At 4 a.m. she was transferred to a hospital in Kyiv. Currently she is in an intensive care unit.
Oleksiy Grytsenko, the activist whom Tetiana gave a phone call on that night, informed Hromadske.TV that on December 24 Tetiana went to make photos of the mansions of the Minister of Internal Affairs Vitaliy Zakharchenko and the Prosecutor General Victor Pshonka. During her last filming she was being followed. Tetiana managed to post the information about Zakharchenko’s mansion in her blog on the Ukrainska Pravda website.
Chornovol’s car was equipped with a dashboard camera, and EuroMaidan activists took it to analyze the recording. According to Grytsenko, the preliminary analysis showed that there were three men in that car and the brand of the vehicle and its registration number are visible.
The police investigation under part 2 Article 296 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (‘Hooliganism’) is in the process. The local police invite eyewitnesses of the incident to give their testimonies.
26.12.2013. The deputy of Lviv oblast council from the All-Ukrainian Association "Svoboda" Yosyf Sytnyk assaulted Dmytro Dobrodomov, the host and author of the program of journalistic investigations "Narodnyi Kontrol" and the Director General of the media-holding ZIK. The incident took place in the building of Lviv oblast council right before the session of the council of the People's Association "Maidan" began. They saw each other in the bathroom, and Sytnyk assaulted Dobrodomov with the words, 'You, I long wanted to do this' and hit him in the face.
Obstruction to lawful professional journalist activities – 10
02.12.2013. The cable operator "Triolan" shut down the broadcasting of the TV channel TVi during the TV marathon «Vykhid Ye!» ('There is a way out!') in the largest cities of Ukraine: Kyiv, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk, Simferopol, Poltava, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, and others. This was reported by the TV channel's press service.
According to the channel's press secretary Galyna Plachynda, «hundreds of thousands of citizens in Ukraine and abroad have been watching the TV marathon. The channel has received thousands of messages, letters and text messages with the words of support».
In connection with this, TVi asked all providers and cable TV operators to keep the channel in their networks.
02.12.2013. In Lutsk, the filming crew of the TV company «Avers» - journalist Daria Tymoshkova and camera operator Nelia Prokopchuk – were not allowed to attend the session of Lutsk city rayon court, which considered the case of the gang of carnappers. The gang of seven had been active during 2010-2012 all over the oblast and stole about 30 cars. The victims submitted a collective request to allow the filming, but the respondents objected to publicity, so the judge gave heed to their plea and forbade the filming altogether.
3. Journalist managed to get to meeting of parliamentary budget committee, not allowed to film anyway
04.12.2013. On December 4 in Kyiv, the Hromadske.tv journalist Serhiy Andrushko was obstructed by the budget committee employee, when he tried to film the parliamentary committee’s meeting. This information comes from Andrushko’s blog on “Ukrainska Pravda”. In addition, as the journalist mentioned, the committee’s meeting was conducted in the location other than the announced location. This location was in the area of the Parliament building restricted only for press representatives with special passes, so other journalists were not allowed there. While the filming crew obtained the pass, this “blitzkrieg” meeting was over already. It lasted only about 15 minutes, and 12 issues presumably were considered at the meeting, they were voted for all together, “in package”. The points in the list included allocation of additional finances for judges (additional UAH 219 million) and law enforcement agencies (additional allocation of UAH 24,410 thousand for medical and recreation needs of law enforcers, veterans and family members, and 1, 790 thousand for “securing the rights of citizens, upholding law and order against illegal infringements”.
09.12.2013. In Luhansk, representatives of Don Cossacks and young thugs wearing cloths with the Party of Regions symbols were not letting the journalists in to the Forum of deputies of all levels, which was held in "LTK-Arena", the information agency EastKorr reports. They called journalist badges unlawful and demanded to show passes. In particular, they stopped the EastKorr's filming crew and the journalist and camera operator of one of local Luhansk TV channels. They were cussing at journalists and assaulted the camera operator of the information agency and damaged his camera. The journalists managed to get inside the building only after they were fetched by the press secretary of Luhansk Olbast State Administration Andriy Dekhtarenko.
The media outlet pointed out that the Forum brought together delegations from all cities and rayons of Luhansk oblast and representatives of NGOs to give their opinion on the current political situation in Ukraine, in particular, to articulate the attitude of the dwellers of the region to the events on Maidan, blockade of the governmental agencies and occupying of governmental institutions.
5. 24 channel journalists complain their journalists ID were not good enough, police demanded they wore high visibility vests
10.12.2013. On the eve of December 10 in Kyiv, officers of internal troops were not letting through the filming crew of the 24 channel to the government district (at Liuteranska Street) not long before the law enforcers started securing the barricades of protesters of the pro-European rally. Olga Rytsar, the 24 channel journalist, informed IMI about that.
According to her, because the cameraman was the only one wearing the high visibility vest, not the journalist, officers were not letting them through despite their proper journalists ID from the editorial office. The IMI’s media lawyer Roman Holovenko pointed out that this was a misconduct, as wearing such vests was introduced in summer of 2013 as a protective measure for journalists, but it was never mandatory, as according to the law just a journalist ID is enough. The filming crew had to go to the Ministry of Internal Affairs department at Mykhailivska Street nearby, where she “barely managed” to get one of the high visibility vests to get access.
6. At Party of Regions rally, STB channel camera bombarded with snowballs
13.12.2013. On December 13 in Kyiv, at the Party of Regions rally, young men in track suits targeted the camera of the STB TV channel with snowballs. Police did not respond to this. This was reported in the story of the program «Vikna-Novyny» by journalists Iryna Zayets and Iryna Drabok. The correspondents were preparing a story on how workers of the government-funded spheres from different regions are «invited» to Kyiv to participate in the rally in support of the Party of Regions. The police officers, many of whom were able to see the aggression of the pro-governmental rally participants, ignored it, and they were reluctant to give clear answers to any of the journalists’ questions. When asked to interfere, police officers, many of whom were near the young men, answered they did not see anything.
15.12.2013. In Kyiv, in the morning police officers under the command of the deputy head of Shevchenkivsky rayon department of police of the city of Kyiv did not let journalists and MPs to enter the premises of the district electoral commission 223 on Shcherbakova Street. This was reported by Ukrainska Pravda with reference to the press service of MP Iryna Sekh. Later they let the journalists in after MP Andriy Illenko explained to them that their actions were violating the law. For the context, on December 15 in Ukraine rerun elections to the Verkhovna Rada in five districts were held, in particular in the district No.223 - Shevchenkivsky rayon, Kyiv.
8. In Luhansk region, opponent of Ukraine’s integration into Europe attacked Inter journalists
17.12.2013. On December 17, at the check point "Izvaryne" on the border between Ukraine and Russia, an unknown resident of the village of Izvaryne in Luhanska oblast was impeding the filming crew of the Inter TV channel, who were there to cover the motor rally of the supporters of Ukraine’s integration with the European Union. The man was aggressive towards the journalist Ruslan Mishchenko and cameraman Vitaliy Romas, he even hit the camera, “Podrobnosti” inform. The journalists were filming the conflict between the rally participants and local residents, who support Ukraine’s joining of the Customs Alliance. The motor rally participants wanted to install the European Union’s flag at the check point “Izvaryne”, but one of the locals grabbed the flag and tossed it away into the snow. When the Inter cameraman started filming this, another local attacked the journalists and hit the camera several times, demanding not to film the conflict. The attacker was aggressive and paid no attention to the journalists, who explained to him that they are only doing their job. The journalists and the camera sustained no damage.
9. In Kyiv, unidentified man in civvies would not let Publichnye Liudi journalist make photos near Pecherska Lavra
25.12.2013. On December 25, in Kyiv, an unidentified man in civilian clothes would not let the journalist of the Publichnye Liudi magazine Mykola Voskalo make photos near Kyievo-Pecherska Lavra, the media outlet’s website informs. According to their report, the territory of Kyievo-Pecherska Lavra was closed not only for visitors, but also for those who work and study on the sanctuary’s territory. Every entrance was blocked by police cordons. The main entrance to Lavra was closed. Nobody was allowed in, no explanations were given. The journalist Mykola Voskalo tried to learn from police officers why all entrances were blocked. One of them tried to punch the journalist’s camera out of his hands. He was wearing civilian clothes and did not introduce himself. When Voskalo told him he was a journalist the police officer answered he could not have cared less. When Voskalo asked this question at another entrance, police officers said it was because some event was being held there. According to the media outlet’s sources, this event was the recording of the President Victor Yanukovych’s address.
30.12.2013. Police obstructs the work of the journalists of the online portal «BukInfo». This was reported by «Telekrytyka» with reference to the statement of the UNIAN staff correspondent and editor of «BukInfo» Sergiy Zarayskiy. According to him, after «BukInfo» published a story concerning an attempt of two unidentified men on December 27 to demolish the EuroMaidan tents in Chernivtsi, he received a call from the deputy head of the Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in Chernivtsi oblast, colonel Yaroslav Kozak. Kozak was agitated and expressed dissatisfaction with the story, as, according to him, «the facts about Maidan security were not true». The editor suspects that the conversation was being recorded as he noticed some clicking noise in the background.
Attacks on offices of media outlets – 4
1. In Kyiv, unidentified persons took over three editorial offices on Turivska Street
09.12.2013. The building on Turivska Street 19 in Kyiv, where the editorial offices of the online media outlet Tsenzor.net, the newspapers Vechirni Visti and INTV, was taken over by an unknown specialized company of armed men from the Ministry of Internal Affairs forces. There is no communication with the journalists. Radio Liberty received this news from the Tsenzor.net editor Yuri Butusov. According to him, everybody in the office, both staff members and volunteers, were told to step away from computers and not to answer phone calls or make any calls themselves, including to lawyers. The explanation for their actions was rather bogus – it was a court decision to return a server to a man who used to work at another company in this building and as long as the officers did not know which computer might be his server they just took away all of them. For two weeks before this, Tsenzor.net was under constant DDoS attacks, several hacking attempts on it were made. This website has been one of the most popular news and investigative journalism websites on the Ukrainian Internet. After some time, Butusov informed that the media outlet staff and volunteers from EuroMaidan were released.
2. In Yevpatoria, TV and radio company "Morion" is evicted from their building by force
13.12.2013. In the morning of December 13, in Yevpatoria, police and workers of civil engineering services cut the door to the building of the local TV company “Morion”, the «Journalist investigation center» informs. The law enforcement officers had a court judgment on eviction of the TV company. For the context, earlier the TV and radio company “Morion” warned it could stop broadcasting due to failure to obtain consent for lease of premises from the local authorities. The company’s accounts were completely blocked, rendering it unable even to pay taxes and salaries. As the channel’s team believes, the failure to prolong the lease contract without a good reason is due to «their truthful coverage of activities of the local authorities». The building was leased out to the representatives of the “Svoboda” electoral association for the MP’s reception office. Still, the representatives of the political party allowed the TV company to continue working there. Also, the TV company «Morion» was actively covering the activities of the pro-European rallies in Yevpatoria and in Kyiv.
Censorship. Access to information
Censorship – 13
1. Journalists of Zhytomyr State TV Company forbidden to broadcast news story in support of beaten colleagues
02.12.2013. According to Zhytomyr.info, journalists of Zhytomyr Oblast State TV and Radio Company were forbidden to broadcast a news story in support of their beaten colleagues in Kyiv. On December 2, in Zhytomyr State TV Company the journalists’ union held a meeting, where a resolution was adopted on inadmissibility of violating the Constitution of Ukraine, the law on journalism and the basic rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens by the law-enforcement agencies of Ukraine. They decided to send this resolution to the Office of the Prosecutor General and to the Ministry of Internal Affairs with a demand to as soon as possible hold accountable those who interfered with journalists’ professional activity and beat them during the protest rallies in Kyiv. The Zhytomyr State TV Company the journalists made a news story about this resolution and about their support to the colleagues beaten and injured in Kyiv, but the head of the TV company Vasyl Golovetsky forbade them from broadcasting it.
03.12.2013. The Business TV channel cancelled all its news broadcasts. This was reported by Telekrytyka with reference to the sources in the channel. According to them, the stories, including from the protest actions, are ready but they do not get broadcast.
For instance, the Business TV channel has on air in the section «Official comment» on loopback the comments of the members of the government and heads of oblast state administrations in regard of the situation in the country, and in the section 'No Comment' - the video of protesters trying to take over the Presidential Administration and Kyiv City State Administration. The members of the government and heads of oblast administrations claim that Ukraine keeps following the Eurointegrational course, and what is happening in Kyiv is nothing but political provocations.
Also, on December 2, the negative information about a poor state of Ukrainian economy was taken off the press review.
03.12.2013. The parliamentary TV channel "Rada" started to broadcast a series of interviews of Ministers of the Cabient of Ministers. In the section 'First Hand' showed interviews of the Vice Prime Ministers and almost all Ministers in a row. The Vice Prime Ministers Yuri Boyko, Kostiantyn Gryshchenkoо, and Oleksander Vilkul talked about how instability impacts the economy and how the Eurointegrational direction is not changed, despite the signing of the association agreement with the European Union was postponed. Other interviews were of the Minister of Finance Yuri Kolobov, the Minister of Revenue and Collection Oleksander Klymenko, the Minister of Social Policy Natalia Korolevska, the Minister of Health Care Raisa Bohatyreva, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Leonid Kozhara, the Minister of Culture Leonid Novokhatko, the Minister of Economic Development Igor Prasolov, the Minister of Transport Volodymyr Kozak and others. In particular, the Minister of Justice Olena Lukash stated that the government's stance is to punish those guilty of confrontations that took place in the capital. The Minister of Education and Science Dmytro Tabachnyk seconded the words of the President of Victor Yanukovych that any association should be joined on equal terms. But there were no interviews by the Minister of Internal Affairs Vitaliy Zakharchenko and by the Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.
03.12.2013. The management of the parliamentary TV channel "Rada" instructed the journalists not to record MPs' comment in the halls of the Verkhovna Rada. This was reported by “Ukrainska Pravda” with reference to their own sources. This is allegedly done to avoid getting opposition MPs recorded with their statements. Usually, this channel would film the halls between the plenary sessions of the Parliament and take comments from MPs to show them live. But now during the recesses in the sessions, the TV channel "Rada" would broadcast comments from the members of the government and representatives of the local authorities concerning the situation in Ukraine recorded elsewhere.
5. Journalist resigned from First National TV channel due to disagreement with editorial policy
06.12.2013. On December 6, due to their disagreement with the channel’s editorial policy two journalists resigned – the special correspondent of the department of informational and analytical programs Igor Medelian and the correspondent of this department Sergiy Lefter. According to them, the last straw was the inadequate, nonobjective, and biased coverage of EuroMaidan, in particular the Berkut's crackdown on protesters on November 30.
06.12.2013. The Secretary of the Council of National Security and Defense Andriy Klyuyev is trying to introduce censorship on TV channels. Such statement was made by the Channel 5 journalist Victoria Siumar in her speech on EuroMaidan.
"Today Andriy Klyuyev gathered TV channels' editors-in-chief and instructed them to prohibit journalists from covering Maidan or at least to tell them to significantly cut down the amount of time spent on the topic," she said. From the stage, she read the letter of gratitude from civil activist for journalists' objective work with a wish to keep up the good work.
7. Another journalist resigned from the First National TV channel
09.12.2013. Yaroslav Trakalo, a correspondent of the Pidsumky Dnia program, resigned from the First National TV channel due to his disagreement with the channel’s editorial policy. He states that his reason for resigning is the same as that of his colleagues: he believes that the channel funded by moneys of taxpayers must present news if not objectively than at least in a balanced way. For him, not to show the story of students who were beaten on EuroMaidan would be the same as to share the pro-government sentiment. According to him, his colleagues and he raised this issue during the general meeting with the management of the First National, which was held early last week, but nothing changed since.
09.12.2013. The Telekrytyka video titled “Berkut to journalists: "Bitches, We Will Show You Freedom of Speech!" was removed from the YouTube video hosting. The Telekrytyka’s video digest presented the video evidence of crimes committed by the law-enforcement agencies against representatives of media outlets on December 1 in Kyiv on Bankova Street. The beaten journalists of both Ukrainian and foreign media outlets testified that all their attempts to protect themselves by telling Berkut fighters they were press just to more aggression. The journalists are sure: Berkut was assaulting them intentionally, following the special order. This video was taken down due to the claim concerning the copyright from the Department of Public Relations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.
9. First National channel cameraman admitted channel misrepresents picture of events
13.12.2013. The First National channel shows a "distorted" picture of events at Maidan due to the management’s position. This is what the First National cameraman Roman Malko stated on his Facebook page, Ukrainska Pravda informs. According to him, he is tired of protesters’ contempt due to the fact that his channel does not show the truth about the events at Maidan and in Ukraine. "I am sorry, sorry to the bottom of my soul that my colleagues and I are dragged through the mire. The problem is not in the journalists and cameramen, who, by the way, work like horses at their site visits starting from 7 a.m.…The problem is the bosses", the cameraman wrote. Also, Malko mentioned that when he hid his channel’s emblem, there were no problems with him working at Maidan, and he was warmly greeted by the protesters, who were offering him food and tea. Instead, the channel’s directors, according to Malko, give discreditable assignments to him. "I had this assignment to film … hobos at Maidan! Hobos, who are not even there! The goal was to show to the entire Ukraine that people, who are standing here, are just hobos, not people who came to defend their opinions", the cameraman said. "This all is a lie! We are forced to do this!" he assured. As a reminder, on December 6 two journalists resigned from the First National channel due to their disagreement with the editorial policy, and later, another one resigned. They all claimed that the First National misrepresents the picture of events at Maidan.
10. Internet broadcast of the round table with Yanukovich scrambled
13.12.2013. In Kyiv, a round table was held attended by the President, Viktor Yanukovych, the Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, ex-Presidents Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma, and Viktor Yushchenko, and representatives of the opposition: Vitaliy Klitschko, Oleh Tyahnybok and Arseniy Yatseniuk, as well as representatives of various churches and others. The 24 TV channel and hromadske.tv were live broadcasting the beginning of the meeting. After the speeches of Viktor Yanukovych and Mykola Azarov, the live broadcast stopped. According to the information from hromadske.tv, their broadcast was scrambled. Hromadske.tv broadcast live audio of the meeting, the speeches of Oleh Tyahnybok and Vitaliy Klitschko. The internet broadcast went back up again as soon as the speeches of the opposition leaders were over and the speeches of the community leaders started.
11. In Luhansk, screening of documentary about Presidential residence derailed for two days in row
26.12.2013. In Luhansk, on December 26 the screening of the documentary almanac ‘Open Access’ was derailed for the second time on this week, Radio Liberty reports. Public activists, who gather every day near the monument to Taras Shevchenko, planned to screen one of the almanac’s stories, the one about the President’s residence Mezhygiria, for local residents and to participate in a live TV link-up with EuroMaidans in Zaporizhzhia and Ivano-Frankivsk. But, according to Radio Liberty, just like the day before, on December 25, an unknown organization set large speaker systems and kept music playing really loud. Because of this, the screening organizers moved over to the Moloda Gvardia park. When they started to set their equipment, an unidentified man threw brilliant green on the screen, while another unidentified man poured tea on the laptop of Luhansk EuroMaidan activists.
Both hooligans were detained by the police. At the same time, some people who introduced themselves as Don Cossacks joined the conflict: their leader with a whip in his hand tried to get to the activists’ equipment. EuroMaidan activists state they don’t give up on the idea of organizing the screening of ‘Open Access’ in Luhansk and intend to do it shortly.
12. Liovochkin’s Team Leaves Inter TV channel due to censorship
26.12.2013. The director of the «National Informational Systems» (NIS) Nazim Bedirov, the executive director Lavrentiy Malazonia and Igor Shuvalov, who are said to be connected to the head of the Presidential Administration Sergiy Liovochkin, decided to stop their cooperation with the Inter TV channel. This was reported by Telekrytyka with reference to the sources that work at the TV channel. Malazonia and Bedirov do not comment on their decision but their colleagues believe they did not want to make censored news. The Inter TV channel’s press service does not comment their resignation but informs that the NIS, which produces «Novyny», «Podrobnosti» and «Podrobnosti Nedeli» will be chaired by Anton Nikitin, who is currently an editor-in-chief and a member of the Inter’s board. Some TV journalists on their Facebook pages speculate that in the nearest future the informational policy would change at all national TV channels; according to them, it is allegedly already forbidden to use the word ‘EuroMaidan’ and this is allegedly connected with the crackdown policy the new official in charge of the humanitarian policy in the Presidential Administration Yuriy Chmyr is practicing.
Access to information – 1
17.12.2013. The executive committee of Sumy city council refused to publicize the minutes of the sessions of deputy committees, reports Dankor. These minutes, especially concerning land and communal property, were of great interest to the community, as these committees are the ones that adopt decisions determining the fate of communal property. “To hide the minutes from the public, they were not classified as public information”, - the media outlet reported.
Political pressure – 1
09.12.2013. In Yevpatoria, the TV and radio company «Morion» may cease broadcasting because the local authorities would not renew the lease on their premises. The TV channel staff shared this in their statement. The day before, the TV company's accounts were arrested and completely blocked, even to pay taxes or salaries. The staff believes this is taking place due to their «truthful coverage of information about activities of the local authorities». The company got permission to use the premises by the local branch of the All-Ukrainian Association 'Svoboda', which leases them. But on November 27-28, the local authorities with the support from the prosecutor's office and the enforcement service, tried to take over the premises. They stopped trying to break the door in only after the heads of the local branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs interfered,» - noted Mykola Filatov, the director of the TV and radio company «Morion». Later, on December 5, the Yevpatoria enforcement service tried to hand him the eviction order but he refused.
Economic pressure – 1
11.12.2013. In Ivano-Frankivsk and Ivano-Frankivsk oblast, cable TV operators started to switch off Channel 5 from their networks. This was reported by the general producer of Channel 5, MP Yuri Stets. Channel 5 learned about this from its viewers and now is collecting more information. According to the Channel 5 viewers, they have no signal of it in downtown Kyiv, neither can they find it in the network of the digital TV provider «Zeonbud» and in the cable network «Volia». For the context, Channel 5 is one of the broadcasters that stream live the events on Maidan Nezalezhnosti and Khreshchatyk in Kyiv, where the law enforcement agencies are trying to remove rally participants and to take Kyiv City State Administration. In its turn, «Volia»'s press service informed that their core station did not stop broadcasting Channel 5, neither did other stations within its network.
Denial of access to foreign journalists – 2
1. Georgian journalists being deported from Ukraine allegedly for participation in attempted overthrowing of government
10.12.2013. The journalists of the Georgian TV company "Tabula", who work in Kyiv, were ordered by the Ukrainian Security Service to leave Ukraine.
As this TV company’s journalist Dmytro said in the broadcast of Hromadske.TV, around 11 p.m. on Tuesday three young men came to the hotel "Dnipro" and presented to the journalists IDs of the Security Service of Ukraine and the Migration Service. A decree as of December 10, signed by the vice-Head of the Security Service of Ukraine was read to the journalists. According to this decree, the Georgian journalists were to leave the country. Presumably, they were suspected in participation in the mass disturbances in Ukraine. Such actions were presumably a part of the investigation of the case on mass disturbances and regime change. The Georgian journalist was warned that unless he left the country, he would be deported. Also, the Security Service agents read to him articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Aina Badalova also informed in Facebook, referring to her colleague from the Georgian TV, that according to the decree Georgian reporters "must leave the country in the nearest time”, and mind the reason – "for participation in mass disturbances". As it is known, the pro-European Maidan rally was supported by the Georgian delegation with the flags of their country. In particular, last week members of the Georgian opposition party were there, and the Georgian ex-president Mykhailo Saakashvili made a speech.
20.12.2013. The journalist of the Georgian TV channel “Rustavi-2” David Kakulia was not allowed in Ukraine. This was reported by BBC with reference to the channel's story. At the airport, the border guards told him that his surname was on the so-called 'black list' so he was not allowed to visit Ukraine. The reason he was put on that list is currently unknown. In a phone conversation, Kakulia claimed he was banned from entering the country due to accusation in violation of the legislation of Ukraine when doing his job while in Ukraine.
Searches – 1
11.12.2013. The apartment of Dnipropetrovsk journalist Valeriy Garaguts, who was arrested under the suspicion of participation in the confrontation under the Presidential Administration, was searched. According to LB.ua, this was reported by his friend Andriy Denysenko. Based on the search, the investigators composed the protocol, which certified that at Garaguts' place they «found no evidence in the case.» The procedure of the search itself was conducted with violations of the effective legislation. The investigators, representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, refused to tell their names to the parents of Valeriy Garaguts, who live in this apartment, and in violation of the Criminal Code of Process they did not warn his lawyer about the search.
Cyber crimes against journalists and media outlets – 20
02.12.2013. The online media outlet 'Novosti Donbassa' is offline due to a DDoS attack. This was reported by its editor-in-chief Oleksiy Matsuka.
02.12.2013. Ukrainska Pravda reports (via Twitter) another DDoS attack on the media outlet’s website. The editorial staff informed that they would update the front page but wait out on the internal sections. The previous attack on Ukrainska Pravda’s website took place on November 24 and 25. The media outlet has been extensively covering the rallies in different cities in support of European integration.
3. Tyzhden.ua website down after hackers’ attack
02.12.2013. The Tyzhden.ua website is down after the hackers’ attack. This was reported by its editor-in-chief Dmytro Krapyvenko. The attempts to crash it started on November 30. At first, the website’s team was able to minimize the harm but later the website went offline.
02.12.2013. The online media outlet ZN.UA underwent a large-scale hackers' attack. The editorial office believes this attack to be connected to the coverage of EuroMaidan rallies in different cities, Ukrainska Pravda reports. Due to the attack, during the day the website was operating erratically. Its staff believes this attack is connected with the coverage on ZN.UA of the events of Vilnius summit and the mass protest actions they caused – the EuroMaidans.
5. LB.ua under large-scale DDoS attack
02.12.2013. The website of the online media outlet LB.ua is again under a large-scale DDoS attack. It was down for half an hour but currently the website is still available online although its staff believes there may be some troubles with accessing it.
04.12.2013. The online media outlet 'Novosti Donbassa' is offline due to a DDoS attack. This was reported by its editor-in-chief Oleksiy Matsuka. Matsuka believes this attack to be connected to his latest blog entry about the Party of Regions forcing people to participate in a pro-government rally in Donetsk, organized to show support to the president Victor Yanukovych. Matsuka called this rally 'window dressing'.
In its turn, the Party of Regions denied forcing people to participate and made a statement about his blog, and then the attack on the media outlet started.
05.12.2013. During the day, one of the largest Ukrainian online portals, Ukr.net, was under DDoS attacks, the website was operating erratically. The editor-in-chief of the Ukr.net news stream Vitaliy Yablonko informed Radio Liberty about this. According to him, they are aware of who is the source of the attack, but currently the company was reluctant to publicize it.
On December 6, the portal was also under a hackers’ attack. Their technical services is doing everything possible to repel the attack and to keep the situation under control.
The company representatives stated, “In connection with the last week's events, the interest to news has grown significantly. At the Ukr.net portal, people are reading twice as much news as usual. We share such values as democracy and freedom of speech. And we will do everything in our power so that Ukrainian users have access to latest news from reliable news websites, international and Ukrainian informational agencies and regional resources.” Every minute, Ukr.net aggregates news from more than fifteen hundred news websites all over Ukraine.
07.12.2013 Due to the hacker attack, the LB.ua website went offline, Telekrytyka reports. For the context, several media outlets have been experiencing hacker attacks believed to be connected to their coverage of EuroMaidan actions.
08.12.2013. On December 8, the Radio Liberty website was down due to DDoS attacks. Radio Liberty reported this on their Facebook page and announced that they would publish all news in social media.
10. Website with description of Yanukovych’s corrupt wealth under hacker attack
08.12.2013. On December 8, a DDoS attack was made on the informational website www.yanukovich.info, which publishes materials about Victor Yanukovych’s wealth. This was reported by the NGO ‘Center Against Corruption’ on their Facebook page.
11. Channel 5’s website blocked due to constant DDoS attacks
09.12.2013. The website of Channel 5 was blocked due to continued DDoS attacks with changing tactics. According to the TV channel’s press service, these attacks started on November 30. As of December 7, the website’s updating was made impossible. The editorial office shared all current news in the social media. The channel’s broadcasting is going through Google and is available. Currently the website is up again.
12. LB.ua again under large-scale DDoS attack
09.12.2013. Website online media outlet LB.ua is again a large-scale DDoS attack. This may disrupt the website’s operation.
13. Ukrainska Pravda again attacked by hackers
09.12.2013. The website of the online media outlet "Ukrainska Pravda" is again under the hackers’ attack. The editorial office reported this on its Facebook page.
14. Radio Liberty under hacker attack
09.12.2013. The Radio Liberty’s website is under hackers’ attack; the editorial office reported this on its Facebook page.
15. DDoS attack on ZIK’s website
09.12.2013. Around 5 p.m., the online media outlet ZIK.ua went offline due to a powerful DDoS attack, the media outlet's website informs. The website was overloaded with requests, most of which come from abroad.
10.12.2013. On December 9 and 10, the website of the online media outlet ZAXID.NET was under on-and-off powerful DDoS attack , the media outlet's website informs. Because of this, the website may lag with updating and opening pages. The media outlet used its page in social networks in Facebook and Vkonakte to quickly share news.
11.12.2013. Kharkiv online media outlet "Glavnoe" informs that they are under a DDоS attack and believes it to be connected to coverage of EuroMaidan. The first attack took place on November 30. Then everything went quiet, but later the attacks resumed and went on for days. Because of them, the website has been going offline every now and then. The editor-in-chief Victor Alekseyev believes the attempts to take the website offline are connected to their active coverage of EuroMaidan and related events in Kyiv and Kharkiv. He thinks it is the only plausible explanation.
18. Website of Zakarpattya Online under DDоS attack
12.12.2013. On December 12 and 13, the website of the Internet media outlet "Zakarpattya online" was under massive DDоS-attacks. They think the attacks are related to their coverage of the EuroMaidan pro-European rally events. Due to DDоS attacks, the media outlet’s website had limited functionality.
19. Website of LigaBiznesInform attacked by hackers
14.12.2013. The website of LigaBiznesInform was under a DDos-attacks. The Liga’s editorial office informed about this on their Facebook page.
20. For five hours, Zhytomyr.Info was under hacker attack
17.12.2013. A five-hour DDoS-attack against the web-site Zhytomyr.Info took place, the website informs. The site was down during this entire time. The media outlet’s editors were publishing news on their official pages in social networks. “We assume that the attack against the website is due to us publishing the news about the Maidan rally, news about beaten activists, and damage to Zhytomyr residents’ cars for helping the pro-European rally. We also published news on the Party of Regions’ paid rallies and their local hired goons», the Zhytomyr.Info’s editorial office commented. The website was also broadcasting live streams from the local pro-European rally and actions of the activists, who picketed the law enforcement agencies. Presently, the DDoS-attack is neutralized, and specialists work on bringing the website back into operation.