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EFJ condemned arson of Alternativa.org andbeating of its editor-in-chief

23.10.2020, 11:57
Photo credit: EFJ
Photo credit: EFJ

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez, who visited the editorial staff of Alternatyva.org in 2017, stressed that no progress has been made in three years to end impunity for crime against journalists: "I express my personal support for Roman and the media he works for. These recent attacks are the result of systematic impunity for crimes against journalists. It is unacceptable that this case, which has been denounced by the Ukrainian and international journalistic community since 2017, has not yet been investigated. I call on Ukrainian law enforcement authorities to effectively investigate into these attacks.” This is reported on the EFJ website.

On the night of 21 October, the editorial office of the regional media Alternatyva.org was burned down in the Odesa Oblast region. The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) reported the incident, referring to information from Roman Varshanidze, the editor-in-chief of the publication. The journalist informed that according to witnesses, two unknown persons broke the editorial office window and threw a bottle with Molotov cocktail in it.

As a result, the furniture and floor were burnt, but the editorial office and equipment were saved by the neighbours who were able to put out the flames before the firefighters arrived.

This is the second attack committed against this independent local media in a week. On Saturday, 17 October, Roman Varshanidze was beaten by three unknown persons during filming, leaving him with bruises and a concussion.

IMI reported, On the night of October 21, two unknown individuals smashed a window and threw a bottle of incendiary mixture into the premises of the editorial office of Alternativa.org (an urban-type settlement in Ovidiopol, Odesa region),

In a comment to Hromadske, Roman Varshanidze said that the reason for the attack on the editorial office could be publications about candidates for the post of chairman of the Velikodolinska and Tairovska united territoprial communities. In particular, journalists are following the case of Yuri Nikitinsky, a candidate for the head of the Velykodolinska community, who is suspected of embezzling state funds.

According to Varshanidze, the police have opened criminal proceedings for beating and attacking the editorial office.

As IMI reported, on October 17,  Roman Varshanidze, editor-in-chief of the local publication Alternativa.org, was beaten in the village of Velykodolynske (Odessa region).

According to Varshanidze, he was attacked by representatives of the Oposition Platform – for Life (OPFL), when he arrived for a meeting with the candidate for the post of chairman of the Velikodolinsk village council Yuri Nikitinsky. He added that the candidate's bodyguards had recourse to force against him and they took away his camera on which he was trying to film the incident.

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