Media organizations call on the authorities to punish those complicit in bullying journalists near the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra
Ukrainian media organizations call on law enforcement bodies to objectively and impartially investigate the bullying of journalists that occurred near the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra on March 30 and bring the perpetrators to justice. This is said in the organizations' statement.
Representatives of the media community remind that this is not the first incident involving the "heroes" of this event when journalists were threatened and in some cases physically affected while trying to get a comment.
Here is the full statement:
"We, representatives of Ukraine's media field, are deeply concerned with the frank attempt of obstructing the work of journalists which took place near the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra on March 30, 2023.
This is not the first incident involving some 'heroes' of this event when journalists were threatened, and in some cases physically affected, while trying to get a comment.
Such an event in the midst of Ukraine's capital looks especially cynical coming as thousands of domestic and foreign journalists display heroism by covering the crimes of the Russian-Ukrainian war at the risk of their lives. At the same time, it must be stated that the very mention of this war and any attempt to hear their assessment of the events trigger aggression towards the reporters on the part of the UOC representatives. And this time, at least four filming crews (Suspilne, Espreso, Pryamy, Channel 5) reported facing obstruction of their professional work during the March 30 clashes at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra to the police. The Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra abbot Pavlo (Lebid) is known for his numerous attempts to obstruct the work of journalists, in particular in 2011 and 2021.
This time, after hearing threats, the journalists contacted the police. The Pechersk police department has opened a case under Art. 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine for obstruction of the professional work of journalists. We, representatives of Ukrainian media organizations, call on law enforcement bodies to objectively and impartially investigate the unlawful acts in order to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Freedom of speech and conscience are valuable assets of Ukrainian democracy; attacks on our values and civil liberties is never acceptable, especially in wartime.
Serhiy Tomilenko, head of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine
Serhiy Shturkhetsky, on behalf of the Committee of the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine
As the IMI reported, on March 30, Metropolitan of the UOC MP Pavlo Lebid tried to knock the microphone out of the hand of "Espreso" correspondent Valeria Pashko while speaking to journalists at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.
Also, a UOC MP priest shoved Suspilne correspondent Daria Nematian Zolbin as she tried to ask Metropolitan Pavlo a question, and broke the camera mount of cameraman Viktor Mozgovy.
A person in a cassock damaged the phone charger cable of "Telegraf" photoreporter Yan Dobronosov in the jostling at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, involving UOC MP Metropolitan Pavlo Lebid.
On the same day, March 30, 2023, Kyiv police opened a criminal case for obstructing journalistic work on the territory of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.
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