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IMI: Crimes against journalists peak during the Euromaidan, at the start of the war and Russia's full-scale invasion

21.02.2024, 12:25
Photo by Tookapic from Pexels
Photo by Tookapic from Pexels

Crimes against journalists in Ukraine peaked during two historical periods:

  • the Revolution of Dignity and the start of the Russo–Ukrainian war in 2013–2014;
  • Russia's full-scale invasion in 2022–2023.

These crimes were recorded in the monitoring by the Institute of Mass Information "Freedom of Speech Barometer", which started in 2012.

Freedom of speech violations in Ukraine 2013–2023

Freedom of speech violations in Ukraine 2012–2023

In 2014, IMI kept a list of media workers injured during the Maidan, which included over 200 people. Later, the list became an important piece of evidence of the crimes of the Yanukovych regime and of Russia's crimes against Ukrainian journalists.

"In 2013–2014, the journalists' rights were most often violated by law enforcers and local officials. The journalists covering protests, illegal construction, and mass events were affected the most. Media offices were targeted: from windows being shot at to cables being cut. Ukrainian journalists also faced a new challenge – numerous DDoS attacks and cybercrimes," said Kateryna Diachuk, head of the freedom of speech monitoring department at the Institute of Mass Information.

On the first day of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, February 24, 2022, the Institute of Mass Information began documenting Russian crimes against the media and journalists in a separate monitoring. In the nearly two years of the big war, the IMI experts recorded 558 crimes: 10 journalists killed while reporting, 24 kidnapped, 42 shelling strikes, 30 cases of journalists being injured, 68 cases of death threats or intimidation, 16 media offices being seized, attacked or shelled, etc.

The crimes against the media are not just being recorded, but also passed on to law enforcement agencies for investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators.

Over the years, the "Freedom of Speech Barometer" has become the basis for numerous freedom of speech campaigns, statements or actions. It was also the basis for the development of bills and responses from international organizations assessing the state of affairs in Ukraine. It yielded response from the Ukrainian authorities and law enforcers investigating violations of journalists' rights in Ukraine.

Learn more in the article deditcated to the anniversary of the Institute of Mass Information being founded – "IMI turns 28. Who we are and what we do".

What is the Institute of Mass Information

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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