MPs passed recommendations on safety of journalists in Ukraine
On January 14, the Verkhovna Rada upheld Resolution No. 2541 “On recommendations of parliamentary hearings” on “Security of journalists in Ukraine: condition, issues and solutions”. 320 MPs voted in favor of this decision, as Interfax-Ukraine reported.
The text of the resolution stated that the Verkhovna Rada approved the recommendations prepared at the parliamentary hearings on the security for journalistic activity in Ukraine.
The summary document of recommendations calls to intensify efforts of authorized bodies for investigation of murders of journalists Georgy Gongadze, Pavel Sheremet, Vadym Komarov, Vyacheslav Veremiy, Oles Buzyna and for setting free of journalist held captivity and ceasing of persecution of Mykola Semena and Crimean Tatars civic activists by occupation authorities.
In compliance with recommendations, the Verkhovna Rada is recommended to stipulate in the legislation that committing criminal offenses aiming to obstruct the right to freedom of expression shall entail punishment. MPs also recommended to extend the period of limitations on prosecuting offenses against freedom of expression, and to withdraw from criminal offenses and to put it as administrative the offense of denial to provide public information at the request for information of journalists.
The Prosecutor General's Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the State Bureau of Investigation are advised to identify in their leadership the persons responsible for oversight in investigating crimes against journalists. The National Police of Ukraine is suggested to effectively probe into the high-profile murders of journalists Georgy Gongadze, Pavel Sheremet, Vadym Komarov, Vyacheslav Veremiy, Oles Buzyna.
The report on progress of investigations into obstructing the work of journalists should be presented by the heads of these agencies in May 2020 at hearings at the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Speech.
The Cabinet of Ministers is suggested to simplify the procedure for access of foreign journalists, human rights defenders and lawyers to the Crimea by amending the procedure for entering and leaving the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine, as well as to inform the Verkhovna Rada of fulfillment of it at the parliamentary hearings until 1st of June 2020.
The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has been suggested to facilitate the coverage of journalists the news in the Joint Forces Operation zone and to preserve well the personal data of journalists who are accredited to cover the stories in the combat zone.
As IMI reported, on December 5, 2019, a draft resolution No. 2541 “On Recommendations of Parliamentary Hearings” on the topic “Security of the activity of journalists in Ukraine: the state, problems and ways of solving them” was registered in the Verkhovna Rada. The document containing recommendations issued at the parliamentary hearings on condition of freedom of speech was also made public.
On November 6, 2019, parliamentary hearings were held on “Security of Journalists in Ukraine: Status, Problems and Ways to Solve It”.
On November 6, 2019, IMI Executive Director Oksana Romaniuk reported during a parliamentary hearing on journalists' security that over first 10 months of 2019, 208 journalists have suffered in Ukraine due to their professional activity and amid 208 incidents of violations of press freedom, 147 were the cases of physical aggression against the journalists.