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15 "lockdown" violations of freedom of expression recorded in Ukraine - IMI

14.04.2020, 15:25

During March and April, Institute of Mass Information NGO recorded 15 violations of the freedom of speech related to lockdown measures started because of coronavirus pandemic.

These violations involved the use of physical force against the journalists while filming stories on lockdown, obstruction and illegitimate denials of access for the journalists to the meetings of municipal and district councils under the pretext of lockdown and soon.

Thus, most violations were reported in Kyiv and Kyiv region, Kherson region (four cases for each), two cases were reported in Dnipropetrovsk region, and one case was reported in each of the regions: Khmelnytskyi, Lviv, Bukovyna, Poltava and Cherkasy.

In particular, as of April 14, the following violations were reported:

On March:

  1. In Khmelnytskyi, a journalist with NewsOne who was filmed a story about sale of medical face masks in a commercial center, was attacked by a salesman, his arm was plastered..
  2. In Kryvyi Rih (Dnipropetrovsk region), the local mass media could not attend the session of the municipal council in Kryvy Rih on 18 March. This measure was adopted in order to minimize the risks coronavirus propagation, as the officials explained. The video broadcasts were made thanks to the help of elected council members who took pictures using the editorial equipment.
  3. In Nova Kakhovka (Kherson region), under the pretext of quarantine, the Municipal Council hid from journalists where they would spend money: they voted in favor of holding closed-door sessions and asked all journalists and attendees to leave the session hall.
  4. In Kakhovka (Kherson region) the city council denied entry to its administrative building to journalists, except the journalists of newspapers "Kakhovskie Novosti" and "Kakhovska Zorya".
  5. The journalists were not allowed to attend the session of the Lyubimivka village council in Kherson region, while at the same time the workers of the village council referred to the verbal order of the chairman of the territorial community not to let anyone in the building during quarantine.
  6. In Lviv region, the TV crew of Pershy Zakhidny TVchannel was locked inside a shop, as they were filming the story on quarantine observance.
  7. In Bukovina, two parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchy prevented from working the journalist with Chernivtsi.Online newspaper, Halyna Yeremitsa, who verified whether they observed quarantine in church.
  8. The security guards of the Kyiv–the Caves Lavra obstructed workof the Radio Svoboda TV crew, which was covering lockdown in Kyiv.
  9. In the Kyiv region, an unknown obstructed workof the  journalist for Hromadske, Alina Sheremeta, who was interviewing in an air broadcast the employees of a pharmacy, a shop and a delivery service about coronavirus preventive measures.

On April:

10 . In Kiev, on April 2, some unidentified men attacked a TV crew of ZIK TV, as the journalists were filming the report on observance of quarantine at sports grounds in Kyiv.

11 . In Kiev, an unknown man attacked the camera crew of "Espresso.TV": he threw his camera into the Dnieper river and knocked the journalist Dina Zelenska.

12 . Cherkasy City Mayor Anatoly Bondarenko threatened to twist the arms to journalists with TV crew of the local opposition TV channel "Wikka", as he saw their gesture at a meeting of the executive committee.

13 . The journalists for editions in Kamyansky "Pylny Poglyad” (A close look) Valentнn Figol and "Sobytie" (Event) Denis Kravets were denied to attend an extraordinary session of the city council on April 3. However, the TV crew for a municipal TV channel could get in.

14 . Mayor of Kremenchuk (Poltava region) Vitaliy Maletskiy appealed to the SBU requiring them to verify the activities of the Programa Plus weekly newspaper and the journalist Oleksander Kurylov. The local journalist community accused the mayor of making pressure on mass media and called on to stop persecuting the press for criticism. This is the message of an open letter signed by Kremenchug journalists addressed to Vitaly Maletsky. Such a reaction of the mayor would be caused by the publication of the journalist from April 5 “Not enough of advertising? Today, Kremenchug officials are promoting themselves thanks to coronavirus pandemic. Picture”..

15 . The chairman of the Kakhovsky district council (Kherson region) Tetyana Tertychna denied access to Serhiy Makogon, a journalist with Kakhovska Zorya weekly newspaper, to the session. .

IMI zill continue to monitor violations of freedom of speech, namely in the context of lockdown. We remind you, if your professional journalistic rights have been violated, please, contact us calling to IMI hotline at (050) 447 70 63 and write to info@imi.org.ua .

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