IFJ/EFJ Back Campaign for Investigation into Ukrainian Journalist Attacks

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

democratic values".


"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