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Progress in investigation of crimes against journalists in 2nd quarter of 2021

11.08.2021, 19:39

Law enforcement bodies are investigating 16 cases of violations of journalists' rights in the second quarter of this year, so called "journalistic articles" of the Criminal Code (171, 345-1). Three proceedings are also under investigation for alleged violations of journalists' rights, but under other articles of the Criminal Code. 

These figures were provided to the Institute of Mass Information by the Department of Public and State Protection of the National Police in late July, in response to IMI inquiry about the progress of these cases. The IMI inquiry had also a monthly collection of cases from the Freedom of Speech Barometer, in cooperation with IMI and DZISD to end impunity for attacks on journalists.

Given the requirements of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the opening of proceedings under a "journalistic article" does not automatically mean that the victim was performing journalistic activity at the time of the incident. Also, proceedings under other articles of the Criminal Code may further be reclassified as "journalistic ones".

In particular, the following cases are investigated: 

-throwing out of the journalist Lyubov Velychko from the office of the transport company on April 6;  

-report that “an unknown person obstructed journalistic activity by knocking out his mobile phones ” on April 11 in Lviv (under investigation under Part 1 of Article 171 of the Criminal Code);

-arson of a car of a Lutsk journalist on the night of April 14 (under Part 2 of Article 345-1 of the Criminal Code);

-conflict between a tax officer and a journalist of the 2 + 2 channel on April 22 in Vinnytsia (under investigation under Part 1 of Article 171 of the Criminal Code); 

-the actions of a man who allegedly tried to snatch a microphone from a journalist in Kyiv on April 22 (under Part 2 of Article 171 of the Criminal Code);

-denial of access to the premises of the City Council of Zaporizhzhya journalist Kateryna Mayboroda on April 23 (investigation under Part 1 of Article 171 of the Criminal Code);

-eventual obstruction of Danylo Mokryk to attend the public defense of the thesis by MP I. Kiva on April 26. As the incident involves a police officer, it is being investigated by the SBI;

-incident in Rivne, where a lawyer grasped a mobile phone from the hands of the editor in chief of online edition just in the courtroom, where she was filming the hearing on April 27 (under Part 2 of Article 345-1 of the Criminal Code);

-the incident on April 27 in a sawmill in Volyn, when the journalists of the Avers channel were prevented from doing their work (investigation under Part 1 of Article 171 of the Criminal Code);

-complaint of threats of physical violence by one of the citizens in the premises of the Kherson City Council on April 29 (under Part 1 of Article 345-1 of the Criminal Code);

-complaint of the infliction of bodily injuries to Vitaliy Aksenchenko in Lviv during his filming on May 9, as Olga Shariy wrote in her Facebook (under investigation under Part 2 of Article 345-1 of the Criminal Code);

-denial of access to the premises of the Kremenchug City Council for journalists of several mass media on May 12 (under Part 1 of Article 171 of the Criminal Code);

-incident involving the journalist and the acting security guards the mayor of Kharkiv Mr. Terekhov on May 13 (investigation under Part 1 of Article 171 of the Criminal Code);

-complaint of denial of access for the film crew of the Pershyy Nezaleznyy (Fisrt Independent TV) to the Pechersk District Court by security guards, during the hearing on the case of V. Medvedchuk on May 15; 

-a similar complaint to police hotline “102” on the said court hearing on the fact that “citizens and journalists gathered before the court house in number of 50 people in order to support Medvedchuk” (15.05.21);

-the conflict due to filming of road accident in the Kharkiv region on June 6 (it is investigated under p. 1 of item 345-1 of the Criminal Code).

Three more cases are probed by law enforcement under "non-journalistic" articles of the Criminal Code, but potentially, they can be reclassified as "journalistic" ones, if they establish obstruction to professional journalistic activities as the motive. These are the following proceedings involving journalists:

-arson of two cars of Vremya Dobkina newspaper on the night of April 20 in Kharkiv (under investigation under Article 194 of the Criminal Code “Deliberate destruction or damage to property”);

-eventual beating of a journalist in the village of Nemishayevo in Kyiv Region on May 20 (investigated under Article 125 of the Criminal Code - infliction of bodily injuries);

-dos-attacks on the Rivne online publication "Fourth Estate" on June 3 (under Part 1 of Article 361 of the Criminal Code " Unauthorized interference with computer networks operation").

In two cases, individuals were notified about pressed suspection on "journalistic articles." We are talking about: 

-notice of suspicion under Part 1 of Art. 171 and Part 2 of Art. 345-1 of the Criminal Code to the owner of a bar who obstructed a journalist in the Lviv region (the incident itself occurred in late April, and the investigation was completed in late May) 

and 

-notice of suspicion under Part 1 of Art. 345-1 of the Criminal Code due to threats to the journalist by a deputy of the local council in Ternopil region (the incident occurred in early April and by mid-June the investigation was completed).

Several cases have been dismissed by law enforcement bodies under item 2 of part 1 of Art. 284 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (no corpus delicti):

-concerning the facts happened on May 21 in the reception room of the head of Kuyalnytsia territorial community of Podilskyi district; 

-regarding the complaint about damage to the camera of one of the TV channels during filming in Lviv on May 5.

Another dozen and a half cases, most of which about IMI sent information to the National Police, were not opened by law enforcement agencies, as potential victims did not filed complaints with the police. These are the following cases:

-denial of access for the journalist to the round table in Poltava City Council on April 1;

-the order of April 2, 21 of the Sviatoshynskyi District Court of Kyiv regarding the conditions of admission of visitors to the premises during the lockdoan period, which in particular limited the access of journalists;

-denial of access for the journalist Hanna Sokolova, correspondent for Hraty in Kharkiv to the sitting of the Chuhuiv City Court of the Kharkiv Region April 7. The denial of access was justified by lockdown restrictive measures;

-denial of access to the session of the council of Velykodymerska territorial community in Kyiv region on April 8 (due to quarantine restrictions); 

-bot attack with threats to Olena Dub on April 12; 

-denial of access to the meeting of the executive committee and the session of the local council of V. Kirpychenko in Pyriatyn on April 15 and 16. And denial was justified by quarantine restrictions; 

-threats to Oleksiy Matsuka, acting editor-in-chief of TV channels of the State Enterprise “Multimedia Platform of Foreign Broadcasting of Ukraine” in February-April;

-Berdychiv's mediaprofessionals complained about restrictions on access to the City Council in May;

-refusal to accreditate the TV channels "Pryamy" and " Channel 5 ", as well as IP " Bukvy " for events with the participation of President Zelensky and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on May 6 due to quarantine restrictions;

-the use of force against the journalist "Bukvv" under the court building, where the case of V. Medvedchuk was heard on May 13 in Kyiv;

-threats to the host of the program "Hroshi" (Money) in June;

-setting requirements for the admission of journalists to the meeting of the commission of the Odessa regional council also in June.

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