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Journalists name the main freedom of speech violations they have faced during Russia's full scale invasion – survey

07.04.2023, 12:16

The main freedom of speech violations recorded in Ukraine during the full-scale Russian invasion include officials withholding socially significant information from journalists and the public, censoring already published content or banning its publication, and denial of accreditation.

This is evidenced by the survey "Freedom of speech and challenges for journalists in wartime Ukraine", presented at the forum "Freedom of Expression in Wartime Ukraine", organized in Kyiv at the initiative of the Freedom House on April 6, reports ZMINA.

The survey was conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation between January 18 and 27, 2023, commissioned by the ZMINA Human Rights Center and supported by the Freedom House Ukraine. 132 journalists participated in the survey.

The results of another survey, conducted between May 30 and June 12, 2019, including 127 journalists, were provided for comparison.

The comparison shows that in the period between the two surveys, freedom of speech in the country has deteriorated by 6.4% on average.

The most common violations personally encountered by the respondents during Russia's full-scale invasion are as follows:

  • officials withholding socially significant information from journalists and the public – 51%;
  • censoring already published content or banning its publication – 22%;
  • denial of accreditation – 17%;
  • commissioning deliberately false reports with the purpose of targeted slander or discreditation – 11%;
  • media outlets closing down – 9%;
  • persecution of journalists – 8%;
  • media outlets being banned – 7%;
  • criminal cases opened against journalists for their journalistic activities – 3%.

At the same time, 30% of the respondents said that they had not personally encountered any freedom of speech violations.

The gravest threats to freedom of speech, according to the respondents, included, in particular, threats of physical violence or the death risk in the combat zone – 67%, a drop in funding for media – 55%, censorship by the authorities – 47% (the respondents could pick three most significant options).

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