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536 crimes against journalists and media committed by Russia in Ukraine in the year and seven months of the big war

24.09.2023, 09:00
Edit by IMI
Edit by IMI

In the year and seven months since the start of the full-scale invasion, Russia has committed 536 crimes against journalists and media in Ukraine.

This is evidenced by the Monitoring of Russian Crimes against Journalists and Media carried out by the Institute of Mass Information.

In August–September 2023, IMI recorded a total of seven freedom of speech violations committed by Russia: firing at reporters, cyber crimes, destroying a media office and legal pressure.

Both Ukrainian and foreign journalists came under Russian fire in August and September. A Radio Liberty filming crew came under rocket fire while reporting in Donetsk oblast. The crew consisted of reporter Yevhenia Kytayiva, camerawoman Anna Kudryavtseva, and driver Volodymyr Yavniuk. The shelling damaged the car they were driving. The journalists were unharmed.

Russians also attacked the Swedish TV4 crew in Zaporizhzhia oblast with a suicide drone. The car the journalists were traveling in and the filming equipment were destroyed in the attack. Reporter Johan Fredriksson and photographer Daniel Zdolsek were out of their car filming when it was hit by a drone. The journalists were unharmed. However, their local producer Oleksandr Pavlov and two Ukrainian policemen accompanying the TV4 crew received minor injuries.

The "Cheline" editorial office was destroyed by a Russian missile hitting the premises of the Shevchenko Music and Drama Theater in the center of Chernihiv on August 19. According to Pavlo Solodovnyk, the editor of "Cheline", the team no longer has an office. The impact of the missile shattered the windows and doors and caused parts of the ceiling to collapse. The journalists' equipment – laptops, computers, cameras and microphones – was destroyed or damaged. However, there was no one in the office at the time of the shelling, so the employees were unharmed.

A fake article purportedly written by Chernihiv journalist Iryna Synelnyk, who works with the news agency UNIAN, was being circulated on Facebook. The article was published on a clone of the outlet's page. It is being promoted on the social media platform through advertising. The article talks about the heavy losses of the Ukrainian army and the need to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

One case of legal pressure by Russia concerned the Ukrainian TV host Maria Yefrosynina, who was sentenced by a Moscow court to seven years in prison in absentia for spreading fakes about the army motivated by political hatred. The court also banned the Ukrainian journalist from running online pages for three years. One of the executives of the Crimean Tatar channel ATR, Ayder Mujdabayev, was also sentenced to six years in prison for "public calls to terrorism" and barred from running websites for four years.

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