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In April, the number of kidnappings of journalists and manifestations of censorship increased considerably, internal refugees appeared— IMI research

14.05.2014, 10:02

In April of 2014, at least 20 cases of kidnapping and illegal detention of journalists were registered, most of themin Slovyansk, several in Gorlovka, Donetska oblast. This is the data of the monthly research «Press freedom barometer», conducted by the Institute of Mass Information.

According to the IMI executive director Oksana Romaniuk,  this month the majority of violations of freedom of press and journalists’ rights was registered in the east of Ukraine, due to separatist mindset and actions of terrorists: «There were unprecedented cases of kidnappings of journalists. Never before in Ukraine have there been so many cases of kidnappings and captures of both Ukrainian and foreign journalists. The trend of kidnappings started in March (11 cases), in Crimea, when the Russian intervention at the peninsula took place. Before this, IMI has never registered such facts in the last seven years».

IMI also registered increase in the number of censorship cases — 21 (in March there were 14, in February and in January 5 in each). «Censorship was very powerful in April, it was connected to disconnections of Ukrainian TV channels in the East of Ukraine, as well as issued covert instructions, so-called "temniks", on how to cover the actions of separatists», Kateryna Diachuk, the IMI expert, says.

Instead, the number of beatings and attacks against journalist reduced by two times: while in March we registered 44 such cases, in April there were 22 (for comparison, in January — 82, in February — 70). This month, there was a minor increase of threats and intimidations – 11 cases (in March — 9), and the number of attacks against mass media offices — 13 (in March— 12 cases).

As the IMI experts point out, separatists were impeding the work of Ukrainian and foreign journalists, other than Russian ones, so that the journalists could not perform their professional duties. For example, pro-Russian activists attacked journalists during the rallies, both separatist and pro-Ukrainian; also journalists were attacked when they documented capturing of administrative buildings, etc.

Also, in «Press freedom barometer», one case is registered where a journalist publicly declared that he was forced to become a domestic refugee. «According to IMI information, in reality there are at least 10 journalists, who were forced to leave their region of residence due to pressure. Yet, because these facts did not become public knowledge, they were not included into the Barometer», the IMI expert, Kateryna Diachuk, explained.

In total, since the beginning of 2014, IMI registered 218 cases of beatings and attacks against journalists, 69 obstructions to professional activities of journalists, and 47 cases of censorship.

More details of the research are provided at this link.

FYI: The Institute of Mass Information conducts a monthly all-Ukrainian monitoring for freedom of press based on the following categories: physical aggression, censorship and access to information, economic and political pressure, legal pressure, and cyber crimes against mass media and journalists. The monthly report includes only the cases related to freedom of press and professional journalist activities. More details about the methodology are provided  here.

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