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Kyva and Medvedchuk's bodyguards as anti-heroes of freedom of speech in May. Press Freedom barometer

02.06.2021, 18:46

In May, 15 violations of journalists' rights have been recorded by the IMI experts in Ukraine. Of these, 14 were the incidents of physical aggression against the media professionals. 

These are the results of the monthly monitoring of the Institute of Mass Information “Press Freedom Barometer” *.

This month, 13 cases of obstruction and one case of threats and restriction of access were recorded.

Among the incidents involving obstruction to journalistic activity there were cases of selectivity in access to the press conference with the participation of President Volodymyr Zelensky and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. In particular, two TV channels owned by ex-Petro Poroshenko - Pryamyy and Channel 5 - were denied an accreditation to the meeting. The journalist  for “Bukvy”, which sympathize with Poroshenko, were also denied to get accreditation. The denial was justified with quarantine restrictions. The president's office has notified the mass media that 20 media representatives would be able to attend the event due to quarantine restrictions.

In addition, journalists faced aggressive attitude on May 13 near the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv, where the judges were deciding on a measure of restraint for MP Viktor Medvedchuk, 

Thus, Medvedchuk's bodyguards and MP from the OPFL Illya Kyva can be called the main enemies of the press in May. Medvedchuk's bodyguards barred a number of journalists from entering the courtroom, and some journalists were even harmed. An unknown man barred the way for a correspondent for the "Bukvy" edition and used physical force, strangling his throat with his hand.

Medvedchuk's bodyguards also did not allow the journalist Stanislav Kozliuk working for  Watchers.Media to enter the court building.

The MP from OPFL Ilya Kyva impeded the journalist for Hromadske Victoria Roshchyna from video streaming outside the courthouse, Besides that, some unknown individuals wearing black clothes made a human chain at the entrance to the courthouse and prevented the journalists from filming and barred access to the court building. Law enforcement officers who stood there did not react to Kyva and unknown people, who hindered the journalist from working.

Then, in the courtroom, Illya Kyva prevented the operator of Channel 24 from filming. The candidate of sciences and MP went to the courtroom and expressed his claims to the media. The People's Deputy told journalists that they prevented him from exercising his "deputy powers."

Violations occurred in seven regions of Ukraine. The leader is, as usual, Kyiv (seven), followed by Lviv region with three cases, and one for each : in Odessa, Poltava, Kharkiv, Ternopil region and Zhytomyr region. 

In April, private individuals, representatives of local and judicial authorities violated the most journalists' rights.

In a whole, seven men journalists and six female journalists were subject of pressure this month.

Thus, since the beginning of the year, IMI has recorded a total of 89 cases of violations of freedom of speech, 51 cases of obstruction, 10 restrictions on access to information, eight beatings and five threats.

* The Institute of Mass Information conducts monthly all-Ukrainian monitoring of freedom of speech in the following categories: physical aggression, censorship and access to information, economic and political pressure, legal pressure and cybercrime against the media and journalists. Only cases related to freedom of speech and professional journalism are included in the monthly report. You can read more about the methodology here.

This study was made possible by the support of the American people through the USAID Media Program in Ukraine, implemented by the international organization Internews Network. The contents are the sole responsibility of the Institute for Mass Information and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the US Government or the Internews Network.

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