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IMI CEO demands that the authorities address the systematic pressure on journalists

16.01.2024, 18:02
Photo credit: National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting
Photo credit: National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting

The director of the Institute of Mass Information, Oksana Romaniuk, demands that the authorities address systematic pressure on journalists.

She said this while commenting on the pressure on journalist Yuriy Nikolov and the Bihus.Info team.

"If by toady's evening there is no strong response from the authorities to the systematic pressure on journalists, it will be very, very bad for Ukraine as a democracy. Yesterday there was an attack on the NGL investigator Yuriy Nikolov, today an attack on Bihus.Info. Earlier, there was the systematic pressure on 'Detector Media' and Sevgil Musaieva, 'Babel' and other media outlets," she said.

According to Romaniuk, deliberate hounding of the media, surveillance, covert video recordings are unacceptable in a democratic country.

"And I am very sorry to see cases that remind us of Yanukovych's time. And that definitely have no place in 2024," said the director of IMI.

As the IMI reported, on January 16, the head of the Bihus.Info project, Denys Bihus, recorded a statement in response to a provocative video shared online, in which his employees negotiate the purchase of drugs and use them, and reported unlawful surveillance and wiretapping. He also announced staff changes.

On January 15, investigative journalist Yuriy Nikolov reported an attempt at intimidation: unknown men tried to break into his apartment on January 14, scaring his mother and neighbors, and left paper notes saying "draft dodger" and "traitor" on his door.

After the incident, the Telegram channel "Kartochny Ofis" posted about it, claiming that it was military servicemen trying to deliver a draft notice to the journalist. A provocative post about Yuri Nikolov was shared by the Telegram channels "Vertykal" and "Joker" at about the same time. 

On January 15, the Telegram channel 'Joker' posted the video of Nikolov's comment on President Volodymyr Zelensky and implied that the attack on the journalist's apartment was retaliation for his remark about the head of state.

The Institute of Mass Information (IMI) is a public media organization that has been operating since 1995. The IMI defends the rights of journalists, analyzes the media field and covers media-related events, fights propaganda and disinformation and has been providing media outlets with safety gear for trips to the combat zone since the start of the Russo–Ukrainian war in 2014.

The IMI carries out Ukraine's only freedom of speech monitoring and keeps a list of high quality and sustainable online media outlets, documents Russia's crimes against the media committed in the course of the war on Ukraine. The IMI has representatives in 20 oblasts of Ukraine and a network of "Mediabaza" hubs to provide journalists with continuous support. The IMI's partners include Reporters Without Borders and Freedom House; the organization is a member of the International Organization for the Protection of Freedom of Expression (IFEX).

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