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Press Emblem Campaign includes two Russian propagandists in the list of journalists killed in Ukraine

04.01.2024, 16:04

The international human rights organization Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) released a report on journalists killed around the globe in 2023. According to their data, four journalists died in the war in Ukraine over the last year. Two of them are Russian propagandists (one being a combatant), but the organization calls them "Russian journalists."

The organization reports a total of 140 journalists killed around the world in 2023. Last year, one Italian citizen, one Frenchman and two Russians died in the war in Ukraine.

The journalists in question are the Ukrainian fixer for the Italian La Repubblica, Bohdan Bitik, who died in April 2023 in Kherson as a result of a Russian attack. In May, reporter for the French AFP Arman Soldin was killed by Russian shelling near Bakhmut.

The other two persons killed in Ukraine are Russian propagandists Boris Maksudov and Rostislav Zhuravlev, whom the PEC calls "Russian journalists."

As reported earlier, Boris Maksudov died in the occupied part of the Zaporizhzhia oblast in November 2023; he worked for the Russian propaganda channel "Rossiya 1". In the video posted by "Rossiya 1" Boris Maksudov is seen without a "press" badge and wearing a helmet and a safety vest in khaki as opposed to blue, which makes him look like a combatant.

He has illegally been to Crimea, Donetsk oblast, and Chornobyl. All checkpoints on the Ukraine–Russia border are currently closed. It should be noted that due to Russia's aggression in 2014 and with the start of the full-scale invasion in 2022, the Ukrainian government closed down the border checkpoints within the occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, as well as on other sections of the border with Russia and Belarus. The State Border Guard Service spokesman, Andriy Demchenko, told the IMI that Boris Maksudov's visit to the occupied part of Ukraine was a violation of Ukrainian law.

On his Vkontakte page, Maksudov has called Ukraine "in its current form" a "threat" and a "geopolitical callus and a tumor." In his opinion, Crimea was the "Russian spring" and the Donbas was the "Russian fall". At the same time, he expected a "Russian winter" in Europe. "It better not be a nuclear one," he added.

Another Russian propagandist working for the Kremlin news agency RIA Novosti, Rostislav Zhuravlev, who was killed by shelling in Piatykhatky (Zaporizhzhia oblast) in July 2023, was partaking in the aggression against Ukraine as part of a military unit.

Following Zhuravlev's death, the International and European Federations of Journalists and UNESCO issued statements calling him a "journalist" and calling for an investigation into the Russian propagandist's death. In response, Ukrainian journalists and media organizations, members of the Media Movement, urged international organizations not to mistake propagandists – active participants in Russia's aggression against Ukraine – for journalists.

Moreover, in 2014 the PEC also included Russian propagandists who died in the occupied part of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (having arrived there illegally) in their monitoring. The propagandists in question were Andrey Stenin working for the MIA "Russia Today", the Russian Perviy Kanal cameraman Anatoliy Klyan, and VGTRK employees Igor Korneliuk and Anton Voloshin.

In 2022, the organization reported the death of Svetlana Babaeva, the head of the "Rossiya Segodnya" regional branch in Simferopol, which occurred in the Russian-occupied Crimea. She died at a training range due to an accident during military sports shooting practice.

Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) is a non-governmental organization with special consultative status at the United Nations. It was founded in June 2004 by a group of journalists from several countries, based in Geneva, and is an international independent nonprofit and non-governmental organization. It aims at strengthening the legal protection and safety of journalists around the world.

The organization has been keeping its statistics of journalists killed in the world since 2006. On its website, the PEC states that it considers all media workers killed, wether it is work-related or not. The organization notes that difficult to determine the causes of death and to prove that a crime is related or not to the work of the journalist in the absence of independent and full investigations.

We remind you that, according to the IMI, since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion into Ukraine, the occupiers have killed 70 journalists, 10 of whom died while reporting.

Note that the IMI's monitoring does not cover the representatives of Russian propaganda outlets who died in the occupied parts of Ukraine, since they are not are doing journalistic work, but providing media support for the armed aggression. Moreover, all of them enter Ukraine illegally. It is their actions that lead to the deterioration of freedom of speech and to pressure on real media representatives whose work aligns with the principles of freedom of speech and with ethical and professional standards. The propagandists must be justly punished for their actions, which led to the instigation of the war and the mass extermination of Ukrainian citizens.

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