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Progress in investigations into crimes targeting journalists

15.04.2021, 16:05

The police is probing into 11 crimes committed against journalists from January to early March 2021. Such figures are cited by the Department for the Protection of the Interests of Society and the State (DPISS) of the police, replying to the letter listing several cases from the Press Freedom Barometer and sent by the Institute of Mass Information

In particular, the police are investigating the following cases:

- assault on journalist Lyudmyla Yavorska on January 4, in the village of Pidhaytsi, Volyn region, the journalist came to the village council to get comments from deputies about repairs in a streets, as well as to register a request for information. Qualification of the offense under Part 2 of Art. 171 of the Criminal code of Ukraine.

denial of access to Kateryna Mayboroda, journalist for Nenachasi who was to attend the session of the Zaporizhzhya City Council on January 20. Qualification of the offense under Part 1 of Art. 171 of the Criminal code of Ukraine.

denial of access to journalists to the session of the Zaporizhzhya City Council on January 27. Qualification of the offense under Part 1 of Art. 171 of the Criminal code of Ukraine.

damage to car belonging to a journalist Olga Ferrar On February 2 in the town of Zdolbuniv (Rivne region). Qualification of the offense under Part 1 of Art. 296 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Hooliganism).

beating of the head and journalist of the local TV channel "Antenna" Valery Vorotnyk on February 2, in Cherkasy. Qualification of the offense under Part 2 of Article 345-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

an attack by a group of unknown individuals on Nash TV journalist Oleksiy Palchunov in Kyiv on February 4. Qualification of the offense under Part 2 of Art. 171 of the Criminal code of Ukraine.

- arson of the car belonging to the founder of the portal dtp.kiev.ua Vlad Antonov in Kyiv on the night of February 17. Qualification of the offense under Part 2 of Art. 194 of the Criminal code of Ukraine (Deliberate destruction or damage of property).

aggression of TV crew of STB TV channel by the head of the Vilska united territorial community Petro Bily on the camera crew of the STB TV channel on February 22 in the Zhytomyr region. The official was notified of suspicion of committing a criminal offense under Part 2 of Art. 345-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine ("Threat or violence against a journalist").

-obstruction to Radio Izium journalist Olha Hovta at the plenary session of the Izium City Council on February 24. Qualification of the offense under Part 1 of Art. 171.

-aggression on journalist Andriy Kachor in Vinnytsia on February 27 during an attempt to record violations of quarantine requirements. His finger was broken during the attack . The case is being investigated under Part 1 of Art. 122 (“Intentional moderate bodily injury”), and not under a journalistic article, as Kachor did not perform a journalistic task at the time.

-beating of Oleksiy Kusov, a journalist with the Inform Bureau, by two unknown individuals in Kharkiv on March 10. Qualification of the offense under Part 2 of Art. 345-1.

According to the DPISS, the police have completed an investigation into five criminal proceedings. In one case, the case was sent to court, in four were closed due to "lack of corpus delicti." In particular, the investigation was completed and the case of the February 3 attack in Kyiv by a shawarma seller on the operator of the Kyiv TV channel, an attempt on his life , was sent to court . The man was notified of suspicion of committing a criminal offense under Part 2 of Art. 171 ("Obstruction of lawful professional activity of journalists") of the Criminal code of Ukraine. The indictment was sent to court on February 26.

In three other cases, which IMI sent to the police, no criminal proceedings were instituted because journalists did not contact the police. These are the following cases:

-complaint of Bohdan Panas, editor-in-chief of the denationalized “Black Sea Lighthouse” newspaper, about pressure from the city council and mayor Vasyl Gulyaev; 

-attack on the editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Fresh Orange" Vadym Kirpychenko in Pyriatyn, Poltava region;

-denial of access of journalists of the Trostyanets newspaper “Tyzhden” to the session of the Trostyanets district court of Sumy region, in which the mayor is the defendant.

In particular, IMI received a response to some cases that had been sent to DPISS in 2020. 

Among these cases are:

-denial of access to theeditor portal "Hvozdi" Bogdan Vasylenko June 24, 2020, the journalist not allowed in the courtroom for the session Zaporizhzhya City Council. Qualification of the offense under Part 1 of Art. 171 Criminal Code.

-obstruction on November 11, 2020 in Poltava region by the head of the Semenivka police department to the editor-in-chief of Teleradiocompany-Inform LLC Mykhailo Pohribny. Qualification of the offense under Part 1 of Art. 171 CCU.

Police dropped the investigation in two criminal proceedings due to "lack of corpus delicti." In particular, these were the proceedings on the arson of the car on June 17, 2020 to the editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Chronicles of Communities" Pavel Gunzhel and on the attack in Lubny of the journalist of the Lubny TV channel on the night of July 29, 2020. The journalist was diagnosed with a bruise on his face and head. 

In addition, the police noted that they had not opened criminal proceedings for obstructing the camera crew of the NTA TV channel, as the journalists had not appealed to the police. The incident occurred in October 2020. However, the IMI Barometer said that the journalists complained to the police about the obstruction.

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