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Ukraine: two journalists observing the election process were abducted in Luhansk oblast

27.05.2014, 17:22

4 cases of physical pressure on journalists and 6 cases of censorship were registered during the elections in Ukraine on May 25 and in the night of May 26.

In Luhansk oblast during the broadcast of the course of election process two journalists - Vyacheslav Bondarenko and a streamer Maksym Osovskyi were taken hostage by the terrorists. At the check-point in Shchastia city near Luhansk the terrorists detained the journalists and took them to the building of Luhansk Security Service of Ukraine seized by them. The journalists are alive and are still staying there.

In Dnipropetrovsk the presiding commissioner prevented Anton Saliuk, a streamer of the channel "112", from broadcasting live from the polling station in Dnipropetrovsk. Before the incident, while performing his editorial duties, he had made live stand-ups from this polling station time and again in the course of a day. During the night live stand-up the presiding commissioner ran up to him, pulled out the headphones and obstructed his work during the live broadcast.

In Mykolaiv Nataliya Bielova, a journalist of the online media outlet "Korabelov.info", was prevented from video filming of vote count. On seeing the journalist filming the commission's work, the commissioners started requiring to stop it, consequently one of them pushed Bielova damaging her camera, which fell on the floor.

The cases of censorship were registered during the election process. 

In Volyn oblast, District Election Commission №23, Svitlana Demchuk, a deputy of presiding commissioner, didn't let the journalists of some newspapers work there. She reasoned that those newspapers were not registered in the Central Election Commission.

In Dnipropetrovsk the correspondent of the newspaper "Tochka opory" was not allowed to enter the polling station №121481, which was in Igryn correction center №133 (5, Behtierieva Str., Samarskyi district). The correspondent was required to show the permission of  penitentiary service.

In Mykolaiv, the commissioners and observers turned out Roman Babchuk, a journalist of the newspaper "De pravda", because of filming at the polling station. They claimed that he had no right to photograph and film the procedure of vote count.

In Odesa the bloggers of the project "Great Odesa" were forbidden to broadcast online. The commissioners of the District Election Commission voted for prohibition referring to non-existing regulation "On secrecy of voting" and registered it in the act without entering in the minutes.

The presiding commissioner of the District Election Commission in Sumy tried not to let Oksana Malchenko, a non-staff correspondent of the newspaper "Panorama", be present at the polling station during the vote count.

The camera crew of the channel "ZIK" tried to watch the vote count at several polling station in Lviv. However most commissioners desired to work behind closed doors.

For more information, please visit www.imi.org.ua and www.freedomhouse.org/ukraine-media-watch.

This report was prepared under the Media Watch Network project that IMI runs with Freedom House and the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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