Ukrainian media-organizations issued statement on occasion of Gongadze memory day
We, representatives of Ukrainian media organizations, appeal to the President of Ukraine, Prime Minister, Interior Minister, Prosecutor General with the request to conduct systematic, quick and qualitative investigation of attacks on journalists.
Over 15 years have passed since the murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze, and we call on the government to make a final decision about the possibility to establish those who ordered the murder of journalist Gongadze and, finally, name the main suspects.
Ukrainian media organizations did not question the legality of the sentence of Olexiy Pukach, who committed the murder of Georgiy Gongadze, and whose case is now in a cassation court. We believe it was an important step for Ukraine as a state to sentence a police general for a crime against journalists.
We also urge politicians and officials to stop political speculations about the Gongadze case and other cases involving aggression against journalists - any words will never replace investigations.
In 2016, the situation with investigations of attacks on journalists has improved slightly compared with the year 2015. According to the Interior Ministry, during the first eight months of 2016, fifteen cases involving obstruction of journalistic activities were investigated and directed to the court, compared to only three cases that were investigated during the same period of the year 2015. However, the number of attacks on journalists still exceeds by several times the number of successfully investigated cases. The systematic work over investigations should definitely intensify. The aggressors that attacked journalists during the events of the Revolution of Dignity have not been punished yet as well.
We demand that the government systematically take the following steps, which are necessary to fully protect the right of citizens to information and to guarantee the unimpeded activity of journalists:
- Find and punish the killers of journalist Pavel Sheremet. Conduct prompt and transparent investigations of crimes against freedom of speech in Ukraine.
- Ensure accountability and transparency of governmental institutions and officials. Regularly report to the public for their actions and comply with legislation on access to information.
- Actively promote the creation of public broadcasting and privatization of printed media.
Traditionally, on September 16, rallies are held in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities in memory of Georgiy Gongadze and all Ukrainian journalists who perished when fulfilling their professional activities.
In Kyiv, the rally will be held at the Independence Square, the beginning is at 18.30.
Institute of Mass Information
National Union of Journalists of Ukraine
Media Law Institute