UKRAINE CRISIS - #SOS_Kiev
IFJ/EFJ CALL FOR ACTION
©Pavlo Podufalov/Kyiv Post
Violence against journalists in Ukraine continues to escalate. The latest figures estimate that 167 journalists have been injured since the protests in Kiev began last November, with 42 journalists injured in protests in mid-January, while reports abound of journalists being threatened, intimidated and forced to leave the country.
In response to the desperate situation, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have launched the Ukraine Crisis campaign – #SOS_KIEV - which is calling on the Ukrainian government to respect press freedom and end attacks against journalists in the country.
This campaign page contains updates and analysis about the situation for journalists in Ukraine, information about how affiliates across the world can show their support, and practical guidance for journalists working on the ground such as safety advice and how to apply for the IFJ Safety Fund.
- Ukrainian Unions Document Brutal Attacks
- Draconian Anti Protests Law
- Footage of attacks against journalists
- Letter campaign
- Support from our affiliates
- Social Media campaign
- Safety Advice
- Applying to the Safety Fund
BACKGROUND - WHY WE ARE LAUNCHING THE CAMPAIGN
The new campaign has been launched in the wake of a tumultuous period in Ukraine that has seen media freedom violated on an almost daily basis.
At the beginning of December, the IFJ/EFJ condemned the "utterly appalling" attacks by police in Kiev which injured over 50 journalists, while on 10 December a number of Kiev-based opposition new agencies were raided by security forces .
The IFJ/EFJ cannot verify this link, however you can view a Youtube video that is believed to show one of the raids, titled ‘Raid at the office of Homeland (surveillance cameras)', posted by Dmitriy Chigrin.
Towards the end of December, the IFJ/EFJ joined international condemnation of the brutal attack that left well-known journalist Tatyana Chornovol in hospital (watch video footage). And in mid-January, as the situation continued to deteriorate, the IFJ/EFJ wrote to European leaders to urge them to take immediate action.
Ukrainian Unions Document 'Brutal' Attacks:
IFJ/EFJ's Ukrainian affiliates, the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU) and the National Union of Journalists in the Ukraine (NUJU), have compiled a report detailing the physical attacks against journalists since the protests began on 29 November. Read it HERE
What has caused the latest attacks? Analysis of Ukraine's Draconian Anti-Protest Laws:
On 17 January, the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovich, signed a bill (No. 3879) hastily passed by the parliament. It has led to public outcry and further intensified the crisis. Today, the President and the parliament agreed to repeal the bill under pressure from demonstrators and international organisations.
Who would be affected by Bill 3879?
- journalists and media professionals
- trade unions or associations
- charities and NGOs
What journalistic activities would be considered unlawful?
- Participating in demonstration ‘‘with objects prepared for committing unlawful actions'' can be punished by up to 15 days imprisonment.
- Defamation is considered as a criminal offence and punishable.
- Investigative reporting on law enforcement officials and judges can be considered as an invasion of privacy.
- Critical information or online media can be blocked upon the order of the state.
- Trade unions or associations receiving funding from foreign sources and carrying out ‘political activities' which usually involve human rights campaigning will scrutinised by the Ministry of Justice.
Footage of journalist attacks:
The IFJ/EFJ have gathered together a number of videos documenting the mistretment of media workers in Ukraine in recent months. Follow the links below to view them:
- Footage of the car chase and brutal attack that left journalist Tatyana Chornovol in hospital. This footage is from the Livelink website, but cannot be fully verified by the IFJ/EFJ.
- The IFJ/EFJ cannot verify this link, however you can view a Youtube video that is believed to show footage of one of the raids on a news agency in Kiev on 10 December, titled ‘Raid at the office of Homeland (surveillance cameras)', posted by Dmitriy Chigrin.
The IFJ/EFJ are urging affiliates across the globe to send letters to the Ukrainian government calling for an end to the intimidation and violence against journalists covering the country's protests.
IFJ/EFJ affiliates can download a letter template so they can write their own letters to appeal for an end to the mistreatment of Ukrainian journalists and express their solidarity with the unions and colleagues there.
Download the letter template:
Affiliates just need to fill out the letter and email it to email@example.com. The IFJ will ensure the letter is sent to the Ukrainian government.
Social Media Campaign:
IFJ/EFJ are also using their social media channels to raise awareness of the Ukraine crisis campaign.
To help us document the crisis on the ground, please hashtag your updates, messages of support and pictures with #SOS_Kiev; and post your pictures and messages on the Facebook pages for the IFJ and the EFJ.
Support from our affiliates:
IFJ/EFJ affiliates across the world are showing their support for the campaign.
The Independent Journalists' Association of Serbia has appealed for the abolishment of "measures of repression and intimidation of journalists, the Polish Journalists Association has stated that it is ready to provide support for journalist in Ukraine, and the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists has express its support and solidarity with Ukrainian colleagues.
The safety of journalists in Ukraine has reached a critical point. We strongly advise journalists who are covering the protests in Kiev take all necessary measures and precautions.
Top safety tips:
- Always remain in team. Safety is in numbers especially at night. Think about linking together if it gets violent.
- Always arrange interviews outside of the riot area itself.
- Know your rights: you have the right to remain silent and to be assisted by a competent and independent lawyer of your choice.
- Carry first aid kits and learn how to use them.
- Establish pre-arranged contact points with the rest of your team (photographer, camera operator, producer, etc.) if you are separating
- Tear gas is used to control riots, disperse crowds, and subdue individuals. It is intended to cause pain. The effects of the gas usually are temporary. You can expect relief from most of the symptoms within a couple of hours of exposure.
For a full list of safety advice, download here.
In need of financial assistant? Apply for the Safety Fund
If you are a journalist in need of financial assistance for immediate medical, legal or security expenses, you can apply for the IFJ Safety Fund. The Safety Fund was set up to provide a lifeline to colleagues around the world who experience violence, threats and injury as a result of the work they do, ensuring help is at hand when most needed.