Freedom of press barometer for August of 2018
In August, IMI experts registered, in total, 14 cases of freedom of press violations in 11 regions (July – 28, June – 9 cases, May – 29, April – 17, March – 24, February – 34, January – 13). This is the data of the monthly Institute of Mass Information monitoring “Freedom of speech barometer”. The largest number of violations in August was registered in the category “threats and intimidation of journalists” – 6 (in July - 5 cases). The next one by the number of violations is obstruction of the work of journalists – 4 cases, this number went down compared to July, when seven such cases were registered. Most cases were registered in Kyiv with its oblast (three), two in Mykolaiv region, and one case in each of Vinnytsia, Ivano-Frankivska and Kirovohradska oblasts, Odesa region, Poltava region, Rivne region, Ternopil region, Khmelnytskyiv region, and in Chernivtsi. This month, the right of journalists to practice their profession was violated by private individuals, local authorities, member of oblast council, law enforcement officers, and others. Also, on August there were two registered cases of limitation of access to information, one case of cyberattack, and one case of damaging the property of journalists. IMI registered publication of personal data of Ukrainian journalists from 11 mass media by information resources in separate regions of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (“MGB of DPR”, “Istok” and “Russian spring”). All this data were previously provided to the press center of Operation of Jount Forces headquarters in applications for work of journalists in the area of hostilities from August 12 to August 19. It is currently unclear how this information could be obtained by “MGB of LPR”. Two possible reasons are hacking of the mailbox of the HQ press center, or someone had access to information and leaked it. In addition, IMI experts noted the case in Mykolaiv, where journalist of online media outlet “NikVesti” Ivan Kazora asked the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko a question. The IMI lawyers consider this case to be on the fringe of being an obstruction, yet, according to the lawyers, it does not conform to the description of the crime stipulated in Article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“Impediment to the lawful professional activities of journalist”). Using this opportunity, however, IMI experts remind the officials and politicians about the necessity to observe freedom of speech principles and to respect journalism as an activity. This, since the beginning of the year, IMI registered 67 cases of impediment to lawful professional activities of journalists, 24 cases of threats, 22 cases of beatings of journalists, and 12 cases of limitation of access to information.
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