Since the beginning of the year for crimes against journalists 149 cases were opened, of them 14 were submitted to court – Prosecutor General’s Office data
From January to July of 2017, according to the data of the Prosecutor General’s office of Ukraine (PGU), the total amount of 149 criminal proceedings concerning crimes committed against workers of mass media outlets has been registered. Of them, 14 criminal proceedings (including criminal proceedings concerning wrongdoings of previous years) were submitted to court. IMI received the information as to the state of investigation of crimes related to obstruction to journalists’ professional activities in 2017 from the authorized representative of PGU. In particular, of the proceedings, which were investigated by law enforcement agencies and submitted to court since the beginning of the year, 13 criminal proceedings were investigated under article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“Obstruction to journalists’ lawful professional activities”) and 1 case under article 345-1 (“Threat or violence against journalist”). Also, since the beginning of 2017, the law enforcement agencies registered 113 criminal offences under article 171 (“Obstruction to journalists’ lawful professional activities”) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, of which 35 were closed; 30 criminal proceedings under article 345-1 (“Threat or violence against journalist”) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, of which 4 were closed; 5 criminal proceedings under article 347-1 (“Intentional destruction or damage to journalist’s property”) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Also, the law enforcement agencies registered 1 criminal proceeding under article 348-1 (“Infringement on journalist’s life”). According to IMI’s executive director Oksana Romaniuk, it is necessary to enhance investigation of crimes against journalists. “At the very least, it is necessary to conduct a public session of the working group under the Presidential Administration in the issues of journalists’ safety, for instance, on the Memory Day for Fallen Journalists on September 16. Also, there are still questions concerning investigation of the murder of Pavlo Sheremet and concerning those who were attacking journalists during the Maidan events in 2013-2014, who still remain unpunished (according to ІМІ data, 206 journalists were injured then)”, Romaniuk says. Also, IMI media lawyer Roman Holovenko points out that the number of open criminal proceedings is not indicative of the cases that will submitted to court. “According to the Criminal Procedure Code, a proceeding is opened based on any report about a crime, even if the report has no grounds in reality. Still, law enforcement agencies adhere to this norm not always (sometimes, reports about crime are considered according to the Law of Ukraine “On Appeals of Citizens”, and not according to the Criminal Procedure Code), so there are reasons to believe that there were more reports to law enforcement agencies that there were registered proceedings”, Holovenko says. As IMI reported earlier, according to the data of the Prosecutor General’s office, during 2016 law enforcement agencies submitted to court 31 indictments concerning crimes committed against journalists (including criminal proceedings concerning wrongdoings of previous years); in 2015, they submitted to court 11 criminal proceedings under Article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. In July, ІМІ recorded in Ukraine the highest number of beatings of journalists since the beginning of the year.
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