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We must use all platforms to stress that at least 25 journalists are being held captive by Russia – Yurchyshyn

15.12.2023, 11:57

Ukraine should constantly stress on all platforms that at least 25 Ukrainian journalists such as Vladyslav Yesypenko, Iryna Danylovych, and Maksym Butkevych are being held captive by Russia.

Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, the head of the Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech and a faction representative of the party "Holos", spoke about this in an interview with Suspilne.

He noted that there are journalists whose whereabouts are unknown, such as Victoria Roshchyna.

"We should start talking about them constantly not only in the media, but also in the Verkhovna Rada resolutions and appeals to the civilized world," said Yurchyshyn.

According to him, international law experts should also be involved in the process of releasing Ukrainian media workers.

"Because even during combat, journalists have a special status as people protected by their profession. We must use the international practice to release these journalists. And if we have very good partners in the media environment who control these issues, we will also bring up these issues as much as possible on the political level," Yurchyshyn said.

Yaroslav Yurchyshyn also believes that the involvement of the UN and the OSCE is important as well, "even in spite of their amorphousness."

He reminded that journalists not only from Ukraine but also from other countries, especially Eastern European ones, often suffer because of their integrity in reporting on the war in Ukraine.

"And we, as a state that is most interested in showing an alternative to the aggressor country, must take care of our own first and also of others who work, so to speak, for the benefit of democracy, and therefore for us. So we must ensure that they are heard in the international arena, so that international human rights structures join the fray fighting for their rights, too," Yurchyshyn said.

In the year and nine months since the start of the full-scale invasion, Russia has committed 543 crimes against journalists and media in Ukraine. This is evidenced by the Monitoring of Russian crimes against journalists and the media by the Institute of Mass Information. In total, since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the occupiers have killed 69 journalists; 10 of them died while reporting.

On December 9, Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, a People's Deputy from a "Holos" faction, was appointed chair of the Freedom of Speech Committee. He has already said that the quality of the telethon should be improved. At the same time, he believes that the telethon "resolved the issue distorted reporting on the war and the hostilities."

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