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Press Freedom Barometer for August 2019

12.09.2019, 17:59

In August, IMI experts recorded 29 cases of violations of freedom of speech in Ukraine . Of these, 17 cases were about physical aggression against the journalists. These are the findings of monthly monitoring held by the Institute of Mass Information “Freedom of Speech Barometer”.

This month, main violations of journalists' rights were obstruction of legitimate journalistic activity (9 cases), threats and cyberattacks (5 each).

The number of obstacles remained almost unchanged comparing to the previous period: eight such cases were reported in July. At the same time, the number of beatings and cyberattacks doubled compared to July, when two beatings and one cyber attack were recorded.

The beating was recorded in Donetsk and Kharkiv regions, in Chernihiv and Vinnitsa. The journalists who were targeted had hematomas, brain concussions, and bruises, as to physicians.

An important cyber attack was aiming the broadcasting server of Chornomorska television and radio company. SBU staff found that the cyberattack was aiming to block and disable all key elements of broadcast control, backing-up and reserved tools. The malefactors got control over the TV server equipment of the broadcasting company through malicious software and made inoperative the system.

Also, cyberattacks targeted two editions - "Novoe Vremya" and Depo.ua. Offenders hacked their sites and posted fake news about the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

IMI revealed violations of freedom of speech and rights of journalists in 13 regions of Ukraine. Most violations of freedom of speech were recorded in Kyiv - 14 cases, followed by Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk and Mykolaiv regions with two cases for each, in other regions had one case for each.

In general, the right of journalists to the profession was violated by individuals, law enforcement officials, local and central authorities, representatives of the judiciary and others.

IMI also recorded three cases of threats and restrictions on access to public information this month, two cases of indirect pressure. In addition, one case of search and censorship.

 Searches in the premises of PJSC National Public TV and Radio Company of Ukraine and in place of residence of Zurab Alasania, the chairman of the board, and several departmental directors were conducted by investigators of the State Bureau of Investigation, accompanied by the Security Service of Ukraine. The search was conducted in the framework of the pre-trial investigation of criminal proceedings concerning allegedly unlawful actions of officials of PJSC NPTU, namely abuse of office in order to obtain undue advantage for themselves or other natural or legal persons.

Thus, since the beginning of the year, IMI has recorded one murder case, 73 cases of obstruction, 25 cases of threats, 16 cases of beating, 12 cases of cyber attacks and six cases of censorship.

For more information about freedom of speech, please, read the IMI website under the heading "Press Freedom Barometer ".

The Institute of Mass Information conducts monthly nationwide monitoring of freedom of speech in the following categories: physical aggression, censorship and access to information, economic and political pressure, legal pressure and cybercrime against the media and journalists. Only cases involving freedom of expression and professional journalistic activity are included in the monthly report. You can read more about the methodology here .

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