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IMI records 11 freedom of speech violations in Ukraine in November

01.12.2023, 10:00
Photo credits by Suebsiri from Getty Images Pro
Photo credits by Suebsiri from Getty Images Pro

In November the IMI experts recorded 11 crimes against freedom of speech in Ukraine. These were mainly cases where the Ukrainian side was responsible, and only two violations committed by Russia against the media and journalists.

This is evidenced by the monthly monitoring "Freedom of Speech Barometer" by the Institute of Mass Information.

The crimes against media committed by Russia include two instances of cyber attacks.

At the same time, the IMI recorded nine freedom of speech violations for which Ukrainian citizens are responsible. These include assault, death threats, obstruction, restricting access to public information, and cyber attacks.


In November, two media workers were killed in action while defending Ukraine from Russian occupation:

Taras Davydiuk – a soldier, founder and editor-in-chief of the Rivne outlet "". The soldier died on November 3 on the outskirts of Robotyne, Zaporizhzhia oblast. He was 37 years old.

Oleksandr Popov – a former cameraman for "Suspilne Mykolaiv", was killed in action near Kupyansk (Kharkiv oblast) on November 22. He was defending Ukraine as part of the separate amphibious assault brigade No. 95.

Russians attacked Suspilne's satellite chanlles. Someone was trying to interfere with the work of five Suspilne satellite chanlles by jamming them and changing their content. The affected channels included "Pershiy", "Suspilne Novyny", "Suspilne Krym", "Suspilne Culture" and "Suspilne Sport", which the viewers watch through individual satellite antennas.

The head of the Suspilne Supervisory Board, Svitlana Ostapa, remarked that Russia was behind the attack. "We found that Russia is behind this. We associate this with our independent reporting and truthful coverage of the war, which the aggressor does not like very much. We managed to restore the broadcasting quickly. But in order to protect ourselves from blocking, the company is considering switching to another, more secure satellite," she said.

Russian hackers also targeted the United News telethon. The broadcast was interrupted by Russian music videos and propaganda. The Russians attacked the satellite signal. However, the specialists noticed and repelled the attack in time.

The freedom of speech violations for which Ukrainian citizens are responsible include assault, death threats, obstruction, restricting access to public information, and cyber attacks.

This month, the IMI came under pressure from propagandist, treason suspect Anatoliy Shariy. He falsely claimed on his Telegram channel that the Institute of Mass Information and its director, Oksana Romaniuk, received $70,000 from a "drug cartel". The posts appeared on Shariy's Telegram channel following the IMI's story questioning his status as a journalist. According to the IMI's sources, the propagandist wrote to multiple media organizations asking for their support, as he claimed to be persecuted due to his investigations into European drug cartels. He said that was a member of the International Federation of Journalists and that he was “shocked to have been assaulted in Europe as a journalist.”

Furthermore, the DM and the IMI reported pressure and obstruction of their journalistic work via an organized smear and blackmail campaign targeting the two organisations, that has been initiated by a group of anonymous Telegram channels including "Monaco Battalion", "Good evening, we're from Ukraine", "Joker", "Trukha" and its regional network of channels. 

These Telegram channels were spreading false claims that the DM "pays in rubles" for Russian services and "funds the war." For some reason, they use a screenshot from an IMI study about fakes and manipulation by anonymous Telegram channels and garbage outlets that make money from jeansa, advertise gambling and capitalise on sensitive topics such as the risk of Russian shelling.

Later, the "Monaco Battalion" published a "poll" offering the audience to choose a way to take revenge on the DM and the IMI, and some anonymous commentators suggest liquidating these organizations, burning down their offices, etc. Still, other commentators sided with the two organizations and accused the Telegram channel of slander.

The DM and the IMI are preparing a statement to the police over with pressure and obstruction of professional journalistic work (according to Part 2 of Article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which stipulates liability for persecuting journalists due to their reporting).

Ukrainian Pravda journalist Mykhailo Tkach was assaulted while filming in Kozyn, Kyiv oblast. The reporters were filming next to the restaurant where former high-ranking officials from the Attorney General's Office had been spotted. When a visitor's security noticed the filming, they started shining the high beams and blocking the journalists' cars. The Kyiv Oblast opened a case for obstruction of journalistic work (Part 2 of Article 171 of the Criminal Code).

Two media outlets, Nikcenter and Hromadske Radio, reported cyber attacks. Nikcenter said there was an attempt to hack the personal Telegram profiles of their journalists. The Hromadske Radio website suffered a large-scale DDoS attack which resulted in many users having problems accessing the domain for some time.

The Ternopil City Council refused to list the officials' salaries to the journalists of the local media outlet "RIA+ / 20 Khvylyn", who had written to the City Council with a corresponding inquiry. The reason for the refusal was "preventing manipulation of public opinion and incitement to property- or social status-based unrest."

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