Freedom of speech barometer summary for October 2017
In October, journalists’ rights were violated 25 times — IMI In October of 2017, IMI recorded 25 cases of violations of journalists’ rights and freedom of press. Of them, there were 10 cases of obstruction to journalists’ professional activities, five cases of threats and intimidations, three cases of beatings and assault, three cases of failure to provide information, and also two cases each of political and legal pressure. These are the data of the Institute of Mass Information’s monthly monitoring «Freedom of Press Barometer». In October, the journalists’ right for professional activities was most actively violated by representatives of local authorities (7 cases) and law enforcement officers and private individuals (6 each). The oblasts with the highest number of violations were Kyiv (11), Odeska oblast and Poltavska oblast (3 cases in each). The recorded obstruction cases include: refusal to let the journalists attend a session of Odesa city council; at attempt to take away the camera from a camera operator in Chernivtsi; obstruction by members of the election committee in Odeska oblast during the elections in the united territorial communities, as well as by the council candidate and private individuals in Khersonksa oblast. The threats and intimidations included the situation with the journalist of the investigative program «Schemes» Oleksander Chornovalov, who reported external surveillance, as well as the threats to the journalist of the anti-corruption project Bihus.info Mariana Motrunych from the head of Kyiv branch of the Batkivshchyna party Kostiantyn Bondarev. All three cases of beatings of journalists took place in Kyiv when covering the events near Sviatoshynsky rayon court, where the precaution measure for the leader of the volunteer movement OUN Mykola Kokhanivsky was being decided on. In all these cases, it was law enforcement officers who were applying physical force to the journalists. The journalists, who were beaten, work for UNIAN, «Hromadske» and «Strana.ua». Also, IMI recorded two cases on Crimea annexed by Russia. In particular, the Ministry of Justice of Russia in its letter to the editorial staff of the Radio Liberty project «Krym.Realii» informed that the media outlet might «face limitations», as it allegedly falls under the attributes listed in the Russian law on limitations for organizations-foreign agents. The other case took place in Bakhchysarai, where the Russian law enforcement officers detained two streamers, who were covering the searches in houses of Crimean-Tatar activists. Overall, since the beginning of 2017 IMI recorded 232 cases of violations of freedom of press and journalists’ rights. Among them — 74 cases of obstruction, 34 cases of limitation of access to information, 31 cases of threats, 24 beatings and 5 cases of censorship. More information on all cases of violations of freedom of press and journalists’ rights is available in «Freedom of Press Barometer». IMI wants to remind journalists that if they face violation of their rights they need to: call police; file a report and demand that the information about the incident were included to the Unified Register to pre-trial investigations; make the fact of the obstruction known as widely as possible, in particular, by reporting it to the corresponding journalist organizations. IMI provides consulting and legal assistance in such cases (firstname.lastname@example.org, 0442893613, 0504477063). Every month, IMI reports the details about the cases of violations for consideration of the working group under the Presidential Administration on the issues of journalists’ safety, which includes representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the National Police and the Security Service of Ukraine.
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