Latest threats to media freedom

 

Journalists Beaten by Security Guards and Local Police in Kharkiv

Update: 17 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 16 Nov 2016 Country Ukraine Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 1
16 Nov 2016 Ukraine A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 1

On 12 November 2016, in Kharkiv, two journalists from Stop Corruption news website and a journalist from apravda.com news website were threatened and beaten by four security guards and three policemen, in “French Boulevard” shopping mall. The journalists were investigating the ceiling collapse of the shopping center. Journalist Sergei Medyanik said he was threatened with guns, enchained and beaten in the basement of the mall. He said perpetrators attempted to rape his colleague, stole their money and broke their smartphones. The incidents were reported to the local authorities.

State replies

New 17 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Personal Details of Thousands of Journalists Posted on Ukrainian Website over Accreditation with Rebels

Update: 17 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 12 May 2016 Country Ukraine Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI Alert level Level 2
12 May 2016 Ukraine E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Non-state EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI Level 2

A Ukrainian organisation called the “Research centre of elements of crimes against national security (Myrotvorets)” has published on its website thousands of personal details of journalists who it claims have accreditation with rebels movements in the east of the country. The details include names, employers, emails addresses and mobiles phone numbers of over 4000 journalists, including 36 Ukrainians and foreign. The publication of this data has been condemned by Ukrainian journalists who consider this as an attempt to intimidate journalists from seeking access to rebel-held areas in Ukraine for fear of being accused of treason or facing mob violence in the country.

State replies

New 17 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

13 May 2016 : The Secretary General writes to the President of Ukraine.
12 May 2016 : OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media expresses concern about journalists’ safety in Ukraine

The National Radio and TV Council of Ukraine Bans Broadcast of Russian TV Channel Dozhd

Update: 17 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 13 Jan 2017 Country Ukraine Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 2
13 Jan 2017 Ukraine E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Level 2

On 12 January 2017, the National Radio and TV Council (NRTC) of Ukraine voted unanimously to cease the retransmission of the Russian TV Channel Dozhd (Rain) within a month, following TV reports showing Crimea as part of Russia. NRTC member Serhiy Kostynsky said that Dozhd's depictions of Crimea as a Russian republic had spurred the decision, but that the station had also repeatedly violated Ukrainian advertising laws throughout 2016. Dozhd Director Natalya Sindeyeva explained that Russian law requires the use of maps that indicate Russia’s possession of Crimea. She also claims that the channel had not received any official notice of non-compliance from the Ukrainian authorities. OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović qualified on Twitter the ban as “very damaging for media pluralism in Ukraine”.

State replies

New 17 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

13 Jan 2017 : OSCE Freedom of the Media Reprensentative describes decision of NacRada to stop broadcasting of DozhdTV as very demaging for media pluralism in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Local Newspaper Raided, Office Sealed by the Representatives of the Local Authorities in Kivertsy

Update: 17 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 19 Sep 2016 Country Ukraine Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Alert level Level 2
19 Sep 2016 Ukraine C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Level 2

The office of the Ukrainian local newspaper “Vilnym Shliakhom” (Free Way) based in Kivertsy, Volyn oblast, was raided and its office sealed by the representatives of the local council in the morning of 8 September 2016, without a Court judgment or a decision of the State Execution service. The doors of the office were broken, locks were changed and the newspaper’s premises were sealed by the local representatives, who claimed to be acting on the “decision of the local council”. The police officers on the spot failed to intervene. The editor of the newspaper was changed and the Charter modified by the head of the Kivertsy district council without the agreement of the staff (who co-own the newspaper alongside the council). The raid is only the latest action in the long-standing row between the Kivertsy district authorities and the newspaper over the privatisation process, launched by the newspaper following the adoption in Ukraine of the law on “reforming the state and communal printed media”. The staff of “Vilnym Shliakhom” announced an indefinite strike starting on 19 September, over the “illegal actions of the local government”, inaction of the local enforcement structures and the inability to resolve the conflict with the district council. The Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine condemned the attack and denounced it as an attempt to stop the privatisation. International journalists organisations appealed to the Ukrainian President, as the guarantor of the Constitution, to stop attacks which undermine media freedom. They requested using all possible means to resolve the conflict - negotiations, reconciliation commission, appeals to the Prosecutor General and the Head of the National Police of Ukraine – in order to avoid the strike.

State replies

New 17 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Continuing Impunity in the Killing of the Ukrainian Investigative Journalist Georgiy Gongadze

Update: 16 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 16 Nov 2016 Country Ukraine Category D. Impunity Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 1
16 Nov 2016 Ukraine D. Impunity Unknown EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Level 1

Following the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the EFJ, IFJ, Index on Censorship, AEJ, RSF and CPJ submit an alert to the Council of Europe concerning the continuing impunity surrounding the kidnapping and killing in Ukraine of the investigative journalist Georgiy Gongadze. On 16 September 2000, the journalist disappeared; his beheaded body was found six weeks later. Georgiy Gongadze had been investigating corruption within the Government and in the Presidency of the then President Kuchma. In the months leading to his death, Gongadze reported that he was under surveillance and had been receiving threats. After years of investigations, four former officers of the Ukrainian Secret Service (SBU) were convicted, but no one was sentenced for ordering and instigating his killing. Over the last 16 years, the lack of an effective investigation into Georgiy Gongadze’s kidnapping and murder has had a heavy impact on the Ukrainian society and on the journalistic community at large. The partner organisations of the CoE Platform call on the Ukrainian authorities to confirm their commitment to the freedom of press, by bringing all those responsible for the death of Georgiy Gongadze to justice.

State replies

New 16 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

15 Nov 2016 : Murder of Gongadze must be fully investigated, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media says, calls on authorities in Ukraine to end climate of impunity.

Harassment of Journalists Natalya Kokorina and Anna Andrievska in Crimea, Ukraine by Russian Officials

Update: 16 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 02 Apr 2015 Country Ukraine Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
02 Apr 2015 Ukraine C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ Level 2

On 6 March 2015, agents from the FSB, the Russian secret services, searched the homes of parents of journalists Natalya Kokorina and Anna Andrievska in the Crimea peninsula, according to reports. On the same day, Ms Kokorina was detained and initially refused access to her lawyer. She was finally freed after six hours of detention for which no reason was given. A computer belonging to the father of Anna Andrievska was taken away. Anna, a board member of the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU), has been charged with anti-state activities. The charges are based on an article published in December 2014, which authorities claimed “aimed at violating the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation”. If found guilty, she faces up to five years in prison. The two journalists worked for the news portal of the Crimean Centre for Investigative Journalism. After the annexation of Crimea by Russia last year, the center, initially based in Simferopol, was forced to relocate to Kiev after its staff was subjected to attacks, harassment and legal restrictions by the authorities. Andrievska moved to Kiev in early May 2014 but her family stayed in Crimea.

State replies

New 16 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Malta Economy Minister Issues four Libel Suits and Warrants Against Blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia

Update: 16 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 10 Feb 2017 Country Malta Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , CPJ , Index , IPI Alert level Level 2
10 Feb 2017 Malta C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , CPJ , Index , IPI Level 2

Malta Independent journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia is having her bank accounts frozen with precautionary warrants for 47,460 EUR after a court upheld on 8 February 2017 a request by Maltese Economy Minister Chris Cardona and his consultant Joe Gerada to issue garnishee orders alongside four libel suits they have filed against her. The journalist is sued for publishing on her blog an article reporting that both men visited a brothel in Velbert (Germany) while on government business. Cardona has denied the allegation. According to media reports, the effect of the precautionary warrants on her assets means her bank accounts will remain frozen until the case is concluded and that could take many years. In a statement published on her blog, Daphne Caruana Galizia denounced an attempt to gag the press. The Institute of Maltese Journalists called on the minister to reconsider his action, highlighting the exaggerated nature of the legal action.

Follow-ups

New 16 Feb 2017 : OSCE Representative for Media Freedom urges authorities in Malta to protect independent journalists and free expression

Pro-Russia Journalist, Oles Buzyna, Gunned Down in Kiev, Ukraine

Update: 16 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 29 Apr 2015 Country Ukraine Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 1
29 Apr 2015 Ukraine A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown EFJ/IFJ Level 1

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its regional group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), have condemned the murder of journalist Oles Buzyna, who was gunned down on 16 April 2015 in Kiev. Both Federations have demanded an immediate and independent investigation into his death. According to media reports, the Department of Public Relations Research Affairs of Ukraine in Kiev reported that Buzyna was shot dead at around 12:20 (CEST) in Shevchenko district, near his house. The Interior Ministry, Anton Herashchenko, claimed that the gunmen escaped in a dark blue Ford Focus car with a foreign license plate. Buzyna was a controversial figure in Kiev as a journalist, TV presenter and former editor-in-chief of the Russian language Kiev-based newspaper Segodnia. He was known for his pro-Russia views and was a key witness in a criminal case related to a pro-Russia rally in Kiev. In 2012, Buzyna stood for Parliament on the Party of the Regions’ ticket.

State replies

New 16 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

16 Apr 2015 : Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland: 'Attacks on journalists are unacceptable, whether in conflict or peace. Killing of Oles Buzyna in Ukraine must be fully investigated.'

Video Hosting Site DailyMotion Permanently Blocked in Russia

No reply yet
Year 16 Feb 2017 Country Russian Federation Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , AEJ Alert level Level 2
16 Feb 2017 Russian Federation E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State Article 19 , AEJ Level 2
No reply yet

Video-hosting platform DailyMotion has been permanently blocked in Russia after allegations of copyright infringement were brought against the company by ‘Pyatnitsa’ TV channel. The platform, owned by French company Vivendi, is the third most popular video sharing site in the world, and has approximately 5 million users in Russia. ‘Pyatnitsa’, which is owned by Gazprom Media, first brought charges against DailyMotion in March 2016 for hosting video clips of its programmes without permission. As a result, specific URLs were blocked by court order on two occasions in 2016. Under repeat infringement legislation intended to combat piracy, in force since 2015, the site was added to a list of repeat offenders and ordered to be blocked by Moscow City Court in December. Roskomnadzor, Russia’s regulatory body with oversight of online content, implemented the decision in January 2017. Representatives of Daily Motion have said that the company was unaware of any ongoing court procedure and would “take all necessary steps to make contact with relevant authorities in Russia to resolve the issue.”

At least Twenty TV and Radio Channels Removed from Türksat, the National Satellite Operator

Update: 15 Feb 2017 No reply yet
Year 30 Sep 2016 Country Turkey Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 2
30 Sep 2016 Turkey E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 2
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On 28 September 2016, the Turkish national satellite operator Türksat, the only communications satellite operator in Turkey, pulled the signal of twelve TV channels in Turkey - including IMC TV, Hayatın Sesi, Azadi TV, Jiyan TV, Van TV, TV 10, Denge TV and Zarok TV as well as a number of radio channels. An official at the Radio and Television Supreme Council, the state watchdog, confirmed that twenty stations were being closed. This administrative decision of Türksat, which undermines the public’s right to access information, was done on a direct order from the Government, which cited charges of “spreading terrorist propaganda” and “national security” as reasons for this shutdown.

Follow-ups

New 15 Feb 2017 : Human Rights Commissioner : Urgent measures are needed to restore freedom of expression in Turkey
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