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Press Freedom Barometer – March 2013

09.04.2013, 16:52

In March, the main violations of freedom of speech in Ukraine were obstruction to perform legal professional journalistic activities – 15 cases. In addition, there were recorded 4 cases of attacks, and 4 cases of censorship. These are the data of IMI monthly monitoring "Press Freedom Barometer".

A landmark event in March was associated with Inter TV-channel. In particular, after the change of TV-channel’s ownership, it refused to resume the Memorandum of Cooperation with "Renaissance" Foundation,  and, accordingly, interrupted the existence of Public Supervisory Board, which conducted an independent monitoring of information activities. According to Inter TV, the creative collective "does not require any external supervision and censorship of their work." As IMI reported earlier, on February 1, Inter Media Group holding was bought by Ukrainian tycoon Dmytro Firtash, and, on February 7, presidential administration head Serhiy Liovochkin acquired a 20% stake in the holding. The Public Council and Renaissance International Foundation believe that the interruption of cooperation with "Inter" indicates strengthening of the state control over mass media.

In March, IMI recorded a case of censorship during a live talk show "Shuster LIVE» on Inter TV-channel. Anchor Savik Schuster demanded to remove from the screen the schedule of viewers voting. Thus, in the first minutes of conversation with Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, on the screen there was a graph that showed a low level of support of his words. "Remove the thermometer from the screen!" - said Schuster. After his words, the schedule disappeared. But people in the studio continued to actively vote. 

A high-profile assault case took place in Vinnytsa. Three unidentified men attacked and beat Taras Chornoivan, chief editor for the local news website Tarasova Pravda, in the central city of Vinnitsa in the evening. The attackers did not take any of the journalist's belongings and fled the scene after the police were called. Chornoivan was treated at a local hospital for broken ribs and teeth, a concussion, chest trauma, and multiple bruises. Authorities have opened a probe into the incident, regional prosecutor's office reported.

The Cabinet continued to come up with different restrictions for journalists. In March, the media were banned to move around the Cabinet of Minister building during government meetings. STB TV-station journalist Olga Chervakova claimed this on her Facebook page. "The Cabinet of strict regime. From today, journalists are forbidden to walk around the government’s building during meetings of the Cabinet. For three or four hours, during the meeting, all the journalists must be in a special section behind the fence, built by "the government of reformers" in the early days of their term. Now, one cannot go to a drugstore, to drink water or (for smokers) go out for a smoke break during the long pauses between planned briefings of ministers. One also cannot do anything useful from a professional point of view – because the press has no access to Ministers as well "- she wrote.

In Parliament, the press service did not allow media representatives to a meeting of the Parliamentary Budget Committee, which was planned to consider reallocation of 1.7 billion USD. In particular, journalists of TVi, Interfax-Ukraine, Ukrayinska Pravda, and LB.ua were not allowed to attend the meeting.

In March, there resumed DDoS-attacks on news websites - three Cherkassy online-editions - "Procherk", "Province" and "Dzvin" were blocked on the day of the visit of President Viktor Yanukovych in Cherkasy on March 6.

PHYSICAL AGGRESSION

 Incidents, attacks – 4

1.Chief editor of Tarasova Pravda newspaper  violently beaten in Vinnytsya

05.03.2013 Three unidentified men attacked and beat Taras Chornoivan, chief editor for the local news website Tarasova Pravda, in the central city of Vinnitsa in the evening. The attackers did not take any of the journalist's belongings and fled the scene after the police were called. Chornoivan was treated at a local hospital for broken ribs and teeth, a concussion, chest trauma, and multiple bruises. Authorities have opened a probe into the incident, regional prosecutor's office reported. News accounts reported that Tarasova Pravda was known for publishing controversial stories, including allegations of corruption against local government officials. Chornoivan told reporters that he believed Tuesday's attack had been prompted by a series of articles in Tarasova Pravda accusing Aleksandr Dombrovskiy, a former governor, of vote rigging in last fall's parliamentary election. Dombrovskiy's election to parliament was struck down by Ukraine's Supreme Administrative Court last month after an opposition politician accused the former governor of vote rigging and filed a complaint against him, news reports said. Tarasova Pravda launched a print edition on Monday, with a mocking photo illustration depicting Dombrovskiy on a toilet. A critical story about the former governor accompanied the illustration. Dombrovskiy's spokesman denied his involvement in the attack, and said that neither the official nor his staffers had seen or read the paper, local press reported.

2. Novy Kanal camera group attacked when taking video in café

06.03.2013 A camera group of Novy Kanal TV-station was attacked with their camera damaged when they were shooting a plot for "Inspector" program in one of the coffee houses of Ivano-Frankivsk, according to the website of the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast prosecutor’s office. According to the prosecutor’s office, the owner did not allow reporters to conduct filming inside the café. "The verbal dispute escalated into a scuffle, as a result of which camera group members suffered minor injuries and got their camera damaged " – the web site reads. Journalists appealed to the police. A criminal case was brought on fact of hampering legal professional activities of journalists.  According to the publication of "Pravda.if.ua", the incident occurred in “Koryda” cafe. The owner, shouting: "What are you doing here?", started to push program ancor Olga Freimuth and the crew from the kitchen.

3. Uknown men attacked journalists who were shooting a plot

13.03.2013. In Kherson, unknown men attacked the camera group of Tavria News news agency (cameraman Valeriy Myroniuk and journalist Oleksander Tarasov) who were shooting an eviction of a large family from their flat, reports the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine. Journalist and media-lawyer Tarasov, who was also present at the scene, was pushed on the ground by the unknown men, who began to beat him. Police officers, who were present at the scene, did not interfere to stop the crime. Myroniuk and Tarasov wrote applications to the Komsomolsky police department in the Kherson Oblast, which instituted criminal proceedings.

4. Journalist of 2+2 was attacked when he was taking pictures in Kyiv

28.03.2013. In Kyiv, a journalist with the 2+2 TV-Channel, Yevhen Aharkov was attacked by the husband of the Deputy Director of the Kyiv Higher College of Sewing and Hairdressing. The incident occurred near the college when the journalist was using his mobile to photograph huge icicles hanging from the building. ”The man snapped an ice block weighing several pounds and threw it at me. After that, we had a scuffle… As a result, he tore my jacket, "- said the journalist. Aharkov wrote an application to the police.

Obstruction to perform professional journalist activities – 13

1. Journalist banished from press conference in Kremenchuh

01.03.2013, in Kremenchuh, Party of Regions MP Yuriy Shapoval banished from his press conference Yulia Bylyna, journalist with Programa Plus newspaper (Kremenchuh). Bylyna reported this to journalists,Reporter edition informs. MP Shapovalov carried out a press conference on the occasion of opening his public reception office. He demanded the journalist to leave the room of the Kremenchuh City Hall, where he was holding the press conference, because he did not like the tone of Bylyna’s questions.  The journalist believes that the demand of Shapovalov is more than eloquent answer to her question about the openness of the MP. "And the question was: why meeting with the heads of educational and medical institutions, which was organzied by the MP, was carried out in a secret regime, without journalists of Vizyt TV-station and Programa Plus newspaper. I wondered whether the initiative to "classify" the meeting belonged to the very Yuriy Shapovalov, or to the industry leaders. I asked the question after his phrase that he was open for everybody," – the journalist said. 

2. Private guards damaged journalist equipment

02.03. 2013, in Symferopol, at the funeral of late Symeyiz Mayor Kyrylo Kostenko, private guards damaged the equipment of journalists and threatened them with death, "Argumenty Nedeli - Crimea" reported. According to the Internet-edition, at Abdal-1 town cemetery, private guards stopped any attempts of journalists to take photos or video of the funeral. "Young people did not introduce themselves, they behaved very arrogantly and threatened journalists," - says the Internet-edition. In particular, unknown people applied physical force to the operator of Neapol TV-channel and damaged the tripod of his camera. "If I will see this in the air, you will be punished. You will have your nose broken"- the guard threatened the operator in front of other journalists and photographers. The operator turned to police with an application about hampering his professional activities. Because of the threats, the journalists were able to take pictures and video only after the funeral, when the crowd dispersed. However, even that time, an unknown man tried to seize the camera from "Crimean Telegraph" newspaper. The photo-journalist barely managed to defend his equipment. In addition, according to "Segodnya" daily, the guards damaged the equipment of several correspondents -  on the ground there were fragments of broken cameras and broken flesh-cards.

3.Journalists forbidden to work at district electoral commission

02.03.2013 Oleh Mokin, the chairman of Vinogradivska district election commission in the Zakarpattya Oblast, refused to register journalist Svyatoslav Babila (Tochka Opory newspaper) and forbade him to be present in the room where the local electoral commission was working, Zakarpattya Online reports. In his opinion, media representatives may be present only at meetings. The chairman noted that no meeting was taking place at that time. At request of the journalist, Oleh Mokin provided him with a notice, pointing out that "the law does not allow you to be permanently present in the premise of the territorial election commission in the period between meetings." The chairman personally made decision to ban the journalist.

4. Official spat at camera lense of Crimean newspaper

04.03.2013, in Symferopol, an employee of the City water Channel emergency service spat at a lens of camera of "Argumenty Nedeli - Crimea" Internet-edition.

Journalists were filming a story about a breakthrough of a pipe in the street near the local market. According to the Internet-edition, the breakthrough was quite strong, the water gushing like a fountain. Employees of the market several times called the Water Channel emergency services, but it came only an hour and a half. "The employees behaved aggressively and rudely, without explaining the causes of the accident and not reporting on the time necessary to eliminate the problem. In response to the question of "AN-Crimea", one of the employees, who led the emergency operation, spat into the camera lens, and then went away, "- AN-Crimea reads. The onlin-edition addressed the City Water Channel with complaints about the actions of their employee.

5. Firefighters poured water upon photographers

04.03.2013 In Torez city (the Donetsk region), firefighters poured water upon photographers who filmed the fire at the local market, "Donbass" reported. "Having heard about the event, photo-correspondents of local editions came to the market. But firefighters began to banish them, and, on purpose, poured the journalists with water. Though photographers managed to take photos of the heroic work of firefighters "- says the edition. In particular, according to the information of Donbass, firefighters poured water on photo-correspondent of Gornyak newspaper Artem Postnov.

 6.Head teacher hampered journalists to take video of disrepair in school

12.03.2013. In Mykolayiv, the head teacher of secondary school № 36 banned journalists of the Fakty program (ICTV TV-station) to film wooden structures in the corridors of the school. Journalists were trying to figure out whether it was safe to study at the school, which was in disrepair. "Go. You were invited here? Have you officially agreed it? Who cares what is here”. - said the head teacher, pointing to the wooden structures. – “This is for me, I’m here engaged in physical activity and sports."

7. Journalists forbidden to walk around the government building

13.03.2013, journalists were forbidden to walk around the government’s building during sessions of the Cabinet. STB TV-station journalist Olga Chervakova claimed this on her Facebook page. "The Cabinet of strict regime. From today, journalists are forbidden to walk around the government’s building during meetings of the Cabinet. For three or four hours, during the meeting, all the journalists must be in a special section behind the fence, built by "the government of reformers" in the early days of their term. Now, one cannot go to a drugstore, to drink water or (for smokers) go out for a smoke break during the long pauses between planned briefings of ministers. One also cannot do anything useful from a professional point of view – because the press has no access to Ministers as well "- she wrote. Earlier, the journalists had an opportunity to record short interviews with ministers before and after the governments meetings. In 2011, after the repairs, the hall for briefings moved to the floor below the government’s meeting room. Obviously, the presence of media irritated ministers, suggests Olga Chervakova. The session hall of the government was also fenced from media with black ribbons.

8. Lviv city officials did not allow journalists at their session

13.03.2013, a Lviv city council official did not let journalist of Varianty online-edition Yuriy Kardashevskiy to attend a meeting of the commission, which was due to prepare proposals for the rental property of Lviv territorial community, Varianty reported. The official argued that journalists had never come at such meetings, and that the media were invited only to a public tender.

9. Publishing house director forbade journalist to take photos of Smoking Area plate

15.03.2013, director of the State Enterprise "Publishing and Printing "Tavrida" Andriy Lytvakov prohibited Anna Andriyevska, correspondent of Argumenty Nedeli - Crimea Internet-edition to take photos of Smoking Area plate in the hallway of the enterprise, the edition reported. The incident occurred before the meeting of the Electoral Commission of Crimea. Andriyevska noted the sign casually, in the hallway leading to the printing shop, where the meeting was. Six months ago, a law banning smoking in public places joined into force in Ukraine, thus, smoking in state buildings was prohibited.According to the Internet-edition, when the enterprise director saw the journalist taking photos of the plate, he said: "I will seize your camera and drive you out of here." He forbade to take photos in the building, and repeatedly said that the law gives him the right to expel journalists.

10. Journalist forbidden to take photos at fest organized by Party of Regions in Zaporizhzhya

  17.03.2013, in Zaporizhzhya, during the celebration of Maslenitsa holiday, correspondent of "Zaporizhzhya. Comments» website Iryna Dubchenko was not allowed to take photos of pancakes, the edition reported. Dubchenko told IMI that the pancake holiday was organized by the Executive Committee of the Zaporizhzhya City Council and the Department of Culture, with the support of the Party of Regions. The furnace, where the pancakes were baked, was surrounded with a fence, and Dubchenko tried to pass it to take better pictures of the baking process. However, she was approached by a man, who, paying no attention to the journalist card, asked Dubchenko to leave the territory, and added: "We were told that only one journalist is allowed here. He is a boy. 

11. Kramatorsk journalists forbidden to attend session of local officials

21.03.3013 In Kramatorsk, "Obschezhytye On-line" web-edition journalist Vitaliy Vyholova and "Vostochny Variant" web-edition journalist Svitlana Denysenko were not allowed to attend a session on the creation of condominium associations (condominiums). The prohibition did not extend to members of the municipal press. The guard at the entrance openly said to the journalists: "There were orders not to let the press."

12. Journalists forbidden to attend Oblast Council session in Cherkassy

22.03.2013, in Cherkassy, fighters of Berkut special force and unknown persons did not allow journalists to a session of the Cherkassy Oblast Council, Maydan reported. Oppositional MPs blocked the rostrum in the Cherkassy Oblast Council, demanding to hear the report of Cherkassy Oblast State Administration head Serhiy Tulub.

13. Media not allowed at meeting of parliamentary budget committe

 26.03.2013, representatives of the media were not allowed at the meeting of the Parliamentary Budget Committee, which was due to consider the redistribution of 1.7 billion, "Interfax-Ukraine" reported. Despite the statements of first deputy chairman of the parliamentary budget committee Oksana Kaletnyk, who said that the press should be present at the meeting, parliament guards and the press service representatives did not let journalists at the meeting.

14.Police tried to interrogate journalists when they were shooting a plot

26.03.2013, journalists of "Agents of Influence" program of NTN television Oleksiy Lakhnenko and Stas Kotyk were filming an interview with a local judge in Glukhivsky District Court of the Sumy Oblast, when there arrived the police and tried to interrogate them. NTN project manager NTN Vladyslav Sydorenko publicized this information in his blog on Telekritika. According to O.Lakhnenko, during an interview with a judge about the corruption in the judiciary, the local police and an investigative group arrived in the premise. As it turned out later, fellow judges at that time called the police with a request to detain the journalists. "After the interview, when we were shooting the room, there entered three policemen, a man in plainclothes, and an  investigative team" - said Oleksiy Lakhnenko. The police proposed journalists to write explanations about the purpose of their visit to the court. After that, Lakhnenko called the NTN lawyer, and told police that he will not write any explanations.

15. Guard forbade journalists to take video of Vuhlehirska heat power plant

30.03.2013 A guard banned a camera group of Inter and Donbass TV-stations to record on camera the Vuhlehirska heat power plant, which caught fire. Donetsk blogger and journalist Paul Kolesnik reported this on his blog PAULUSKP. "In half a kilometer from the burnt HPP, a guard forbids journalists to shoot the plant and threatens to use his rubber stick. The guard refers to instructions of his leadership "- the blogger wrote.

Inter TV cameraman Oleh Podoprokhin posted a video of the incident on YouTube on March 30. 

 

CENSORSHIP. ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Censorship – 4

  1. Presidential Administration tried to make their own list of questions to Yanukovych

01.03.2013. Employee of the Presidential Administration Andriy Lysenko tried to make a list of questions of journalists for a press conference of President Viktor Yanukovych. Having agreed this with journalists of loyal media, which usually accompany the president in his trips abroad, he began to make a list without oppositional and independent journalists. At the same time, before the press conference, there was prepared an independent list of questions to the president. However, right before the President’s press-conference, Lysenko said that he was ordered to create the list of journalists by Chepak, the President’s Press Secretary. Finally, independent journalists organized and defended their own list of questions.

2.Talk-show on TV censored bad results of government

01.03.2013. During a live talk show "Shuster LIVE» on Inter TV, anchor Savik Schuster demanded to remove from the screen the schedule of viewers voting. Thus, in the first minutes of conversation with Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, on the screen there was a graph that showed a low level of support of his words. "Remove the thermometer from the screen!" - said Schuster. After his words, the schedule disappeared. But people in the studio continued to actively vote. 

3.Acting Mayor of Kherson ordered to cut off access to local media at computers of local media

18.03.2013 Acting Mayor of Kherson Zoya Berezhna commissioned the system administrator of Kherson City Council to disable access to Kherson online publications on working computers of all officials of the executive committee. "Today Zoya Yakivna (Berezhna - Ed.) responded very sharply about Kherson web-sites, called them a slop pit and advised all those present not to read what they write on the Internet," - said the source of "Khersonski Vesti." Also, the source of the publication believes that the reason for the dissatisfaction of Zoya Berezhna was an article about her on the website "Khersonskiye Vesti".

4. Hostomel village council made decision about censorship

25.03.2013 On February 21, 2013, the Hostomel village council of Kyiv Oblast decided to censor publications of local journalist Olena Zhezhera and national deputy assistant Mykhaylo Leznyk. Iryna Fedoriv, journalist and member of local council, wrote this on her blog on Ukrayinska Pravda. According to Fedoriv, after a arson of car belonging to a Hostomel village council deputy, journalist Zhezhera published an article about the event on the web-site of Kotsiubynske village community, Liznyk, in his turn, reposted the article on the web-site of his national deputy. These two publications became the subject of a session of the Hostomel village council, after a respective address of local deputy Tetyana Shalman. The village council demanded Olena Zhezhera and Mykhaylo Liznyk to "refute the articles, which were posted on their web sites and contain inaccurate, unbalanced, unverified and unconfirmed information”. In addition, the village council demanded O.Zhezhera and M.Liznyk to prepare for publication new materials “with objective, balanced, reasoned information." In addition, Zhezhera and Liznyk were ordered to familiarize local deputies with their articles in advance, before placing them in the media.

Access to information – 2

  1. Prosecutor’s General Office refused to disclose information about interception of citizens

18.03.2013 Prosecutor's General Office of Ukraine refused to give Ukrayinska Pravda the information about the number of appeals of prosecution to court for permissions to secretly intercept telephone conversations of citizens after the new Criminal-Procedural Code joined into force. "It is not possible to provide the requested information because it is official, that means, it belongs to classified information," - said the PGU.

2. Press-service of Kurchenko’s company did not accredit “biased” journalists

29.03.2013 The press service of the East European Fuel and Energy Company (SEPEK) refused to accredit a number of journalists at a press conference devoted to resuming the production at the Odessa refinery. In particular, they failed to accredit journalists Serhiy Scherbyna ("Ukrayinska Pravda "), Sevgil Musaeva (Forbes), Iryna Petrenko ("Ukrayinska Energetyka), Daria Kutetska ("Capital"), Dmitry Ryasnov ("Comments"), Svitlana Mizina ("Enerhopolytyka. Oil and Gas").

The press service explained that there were too many journalists, and they allowed those “who prefer economics and not politics or scandals”.

 

INDIRECT PRESSURE

Economical Pressure - 1

  1. All Cherkassy Internet-editions refused to print the last oppositional newspaper in the region

20.03.2013 Tyasmin printing house refused to print Nova Molod Cherkaschyny newspaper, Dzvin Internet-edition reported. Printing house director Anatoliy Kotov sent a letter to the editorial house, explaining that the issue cannot be printed because the newspaper does not have the appropriate documents. However, an hour before, the editorial office handed the necessary package of documents to Kotov. The money for printing services were transferred as early as on March 18. Nova Molod Cherkaschyny is the only oppositional printed edition in the region. All the others - one way or another - are dependent on regional authorities, Dzvin reports. Moreover, the next issue of the publication was to place a big announcement about a picketing by the united opposition Cherkassy city and regional councils sessions on 21 and 22 March.

Before the incident, several local printing houses already refused to print the newspaper: namely, Zvenigorodsky communal printing house, private printing house "Republic", and communal "Tyasmin." Now the newspaper is available in the Internet.

 

Political pressure – 2

1. Chief editor of Uyezdniye Novosit summoned to police over statement of Nizhyn Mayor

01.03.2013 Chief editor of Uyezdniye Novosit online newspaper Igor Volosyankin (Nizhyn city of the Chernihiv Oblast) was summoned Feb. 27 to the city police station through the application of Nizhyn Mayor Mikhaylo Prykhodko. The mayor wrote a letter addressed to the local police chief Olexander Shipilov over an article entitled "CRD checks the communal market", published by the web-edition on February 8, 2013, which dealt with the financial audit inspection of the local communal market. The article was illustrated with a photo showing an ad pasted in front of the municipal market. In his statement to the police, Mayor Prikhodko said that by spreading the false information on the website, the edition humiliated his honor and dignity.

 

  1. Public Couoncil: interruption of collaboration with Inter indicates strengthening of public control over media

07.03.2013. Inter TV-channel refused to renew the Memorandum of Cooperation with the International Fund "Renaissance" and, accordingly, interrupted the existence of the Public Supervisory Board. According to the press-release of Inter TV, “the creative team of the TV-channel does not require any external supervision and censorship of their work." In its turn, the Public Council regards the interruption of the cooperation with the TV-channel as a sign of increased state control over the media.

 

LEGAL PRESSURE

Interrogations -1

  1. SBU summoned Rivne journalist to interrogation

07.03.2013. Oleksander Melnychuk, journalist with Ogo publishing house (Rivne) was summoned for an interrogation as a witness to the investigative department of the Security Service in Rivne region. The interrogation was connected with criminal proceedings against the a dummy explosives found on the railway in Zdolbuniv town. According to Melnychuk, the basis for questioning him could be his contacts in the national-patriotic organizations of Rivne, which actions he used to cover.

 

Searches – 1

1.Police tried to withdraw server of Censor.net web-edition over comments about a judge

22.03.2013 in Kyiv, police officers tried to withdraw the server of Censor.net Internet-edition. "The police came into the data center and demanded to give them our server. The police referred to the resolution in the Unified Registry of pre-trial investigations # 12013110010002834 of March 18, "- the Internet-edition reported. However, they did not show any relevant documents. After the information about the incident was posted at the web-site of Censor.net, the police left the data center without withdrawing the server. Censor.net chief Yuri Butusov said in a commentary to Telekritika that the interest to the edition’s server was connected with a respective ruling of judge Zhanna Bernatska. According to Butusov, deputy chief of the Kyiv department for struggle against cybercrimes Tymofiy Kovalyshyn told him that if the edition does not provide IP-addresses of those who wrote comments under the topic "Commercial Court Judge Zhanna Oleksandrivna Bernatskaya, with her jeep Porsche Kayyen, defiantly blocks the yard and does not let anyone out. How to deal with such freaks?", they will have to go again for the server to download information from it and pass to experts for deciphering. “It turns out that the judge has opened a criminal case, so that the police sort out with those who were indignant that her car did not let them go out of the yard!"- Yuri Butusov claimed.

 

Suits against media and journalists - 3

1.Son of former local official demands 15 thousand hryvnias from newspaper

04.03.2013 The Skvirsky district court did not examine the claim of first deputy Mayor of Skvyra town (the Kyiv Oblast) Volodymyr Horbalynskiy for protection of honor, dignity and business reputation and compensation for moral damages in the amount of 15 thousand UAH. The suit was brought against the local newspaper "Province Post» and its chief editor Volodymyr Mishchenko, as well as against the deputy of Skvyra city council Hryhoriy Ivanchenko. The claim was left without examination because the plaintiff failed to appear at two hearings - February 21 and March 4.

 

2.Court rejected the official in charging 10 thousand UAH from local newspaper

13.03.2013 The Trostyanetsky district court of the Sumy region denied local official Alina Shatska in satisfaction of her claim against the newspaper "Novyny Trostyanechyny: Tyzhden” on protection of honor, dignity and business reputation, on refuting the false information and charging a non-pecuniary damages of UAH 10,000. The official turned to court over the article "Alina Shatska in anger because her salary was revealed", which was published on 10 January 2013.

 

3. First Deputy Prime Minister of Crimea sued "Argumenty Nedeli - Crimea"

19.03.2013 First Deputy Prime Minister of Crimea Pavlo Burlakov filed a lawsuit against "Argumenty Nedeli - Crimea" online-edition with the requirement to remove from the web-site of the edition an article about him. "The proceedings on the claim of Burlakov against the edition was opened on March 13, 2013 by Judge of the Central District Court of Symferopol Illya Ishchenko. In the lawsuit, Burlakov asks the court to wipe out the about him, to "destroy the materials containing confidential information about individual Burlakov." He also asks to oblige the edition to publish a message of apology to Burlakov in the same section.

 

CYBER-CRIMES

Cybercrimes against journalists and media - 3

1.Leading Cherkassy web-sies blocked on day of President's visit to Cherkassy

06.03.2013 Both the leading Cherkassy online editions - "Procherk" and "Province" - did not work on March 6, 2013, the day of visit of Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych to Cherkassy. This is reported by journalists of Procherk edition, who stress that both web-sites are not oppositional, but used to sharply criticize the actions of the current government.

Procherk saw problems as early as on March 4, during 12.00 – 17.00. The web-site failed to work again in the evening on March 5. As of the morning of March 6, the online edition did not open at all. According to Procherk executive editor Nazariy Vivcharyk, by the information of programmers, the problems occurred due to an outer interference: the web site suffered continuous DDoS-attacks. "Today, on the day of the visit of Viktor Yanukovych to Cherkassy, ??we planned to work particularly actively. Our readers from different parts of the city informed us about the activities of law enforcement officers on the roads. However, we could not cover the visit of the President to our city because our web site was blocked”, Nazar Vivcharyk said. As for the other regional news web-site, Province, it also did not open. Chief editor Victor Borysov said he still does not know the exact cause of the web-site malfunction. In 2012, both Cherkassy web-sites already suffered powerful DDoS-attacks. Procherk was not available for more than five days. It was attacked immediately after publishing several news with criticism of local officials.

2.Another Cherkassy edition suffered DDoS-attack

07.03.2013 On the night of 6 to 7 March of 2013, Dzvin Internet-edition (Cherkasy) suffered a hacker attack. According to the Internet-edition, "following the attacks on Cherkassky Internet-sites "Procherk" and "Province" in "honor" of the yesterday’s (March 6 - Ed.) arrival of Yanukovych, a powerful hacker attack shut down the site Dzvin at night.  After rebooting, the webmaster of the resource noted that, during 20 minutes, more than 20 thousands inquiries were directed to the web site, which triggered an emergency system. At the moment, the site restored its work, "- said the edition. According to the edition, this is the second hacker attack on the resource during the last few months. "The first time we were cut off for information about the affairs of local government with cattle. Now, obviously, the cut-off is connected with the objective coverage of the president's visit to Cherkasy"- the edition noted.

3.Kafa Internet-edition suffered DDoS-Attack over news about traffic incident with SBU

Kafa newspaper (Feodosia) reported about a massive DDoS attack on its web-site, which lasted for at least three days, during March 11-14. The journalists connect the attacks on the web-site with a publication of news about a high-profile traffic accident in Feodosia involving an ambulance car and a car of SBU. The news turned very big attention in Feodosia. Currently, the web-site works, but to restore its operation, the edition had to turn to IT specialists and to pay for their services.

 

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