The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and
its European group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), have backed a
campaign calling for the Ukrainian government to investigate an attack against
two journalists in Kiev.
The campaign, developed by the Independent Trade Union
of Ukraine (IMTUU) and the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), is
demanding that the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs, Vitaliy Zakharchenko,
investigates the case and ensures police perform their duties, or else resigns
from his position.
According to the unions, the campaign has been
developed following the violent beating on Saturday 18 May, of Olga Snitsarchuk,
from channel 5, and Vladyslav Sodel, from newspaper "Commersant", by a group of sports supporters in the
centre of Kiev. The unions say that Ukrainian police just watched the attack
and did not try to protect the journalists. On Monday, May 20 more than 150
journalists took part in a protest outside the Ministry of Internal Affairs and
demanded a meeting with Minister Zakharchenko.
"We fully support the actions of the IMPUU and NUJU and we call on the
Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs to carry out a comprehensive
investigation of the attack on May 18 and ensure that those who carried out the
attack, and the police who did nothing to prevent it are brought to justice and
pay for their crimes," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha."It is the duty of the police and the government in any democratic state
not to be observers, but practically protect the freedom and rights of
According to the IMPUU and NUJU the police at first
refused to register the criminal offence as an obstruction against journalist
professional activities and only changed their decision following pressure from
the journalist community.
"It is absolutely imperative for the police in the
Ukraine to ensure they monitor and register attacks against journalists
correctly and ensure that their freedoms and rights are protected, said EFJ
President Mogens Blicher
Bjerregård. "Such blatant disregard for the rights of journalists
in Ukraine cannot be accepted in a county that declares its commitment to
"The EFJ and the IFJ also call on Ukrainian journalists to join IMTUU
and NUJU so they can increase their professional solidarity, protect their
rights and ensure they have strong, independent institutions."
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 17
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries