On 25 October the International Conference “Safety of Journalists in Ukraine. Ending Impunity” was held in Kyiv to assess the current situation on the safety of journalists. Its participants developed recommendations on ending impunity for crimes against journalists and eliminating occasions when journalists are prevented from carrying out their professional activity in various ways.
The event was organised jointly by the two Council of Europe projects - the CoE/EU Programmatic Cooperation Framework and the CoE “Strengthening freedom of media and establishing public broadcasting system in Ukraine” together with the Administration of the President of Ukraine, Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information Policy and the NGO “Institute of Mass Information”.
Patrick Penninckx, Head of Information Society Department of the Council of Europe said: “In 2015 the Council of Europe launched the internet-based Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists. Its surveys conducted in partnership with media organisations, reported threats against journalists in the Council of Europe member States. The Platform as well launched calls for action to safeguard media freedom. As of October 2016, the Platform has recorded 218 alerts from 27 countries which are perceived as serious media threats. Among them 128 alerts are considered to be level 1 - the most severe and damaging violations of media freedom! 13 alerts have been submitted from Ukraine”.
In January-September 2016, the Institute of Mass Information has registered one murder, 26 cases of assault, 77 cases of impeding journalists’ professional activities and 7 cases of censorship in Ukraine. In the meantime, the recent “Journalists at risk: part of the job?” study, conducted by the Council of Europe revealed that 31% of journalists in the 47 Council of Europe member States have experienced physical assault during last three years, 46% were threatened with force and 69% experienced psychological violence.