The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have expressed their concern for the safety of Russian journalist, Andrei Stenin, following reports that he has been detained in eastern Ukraine.
According to media reports, Stenin, who works for Russia’s state-run news agency, RIA Novosti, which is part of the Rossiya Segodnya holding, has gone missing in eastern Ukraine where he was working on a photo assignment.
Editors from the agency say they have been unable to reach him since 5 August. He is believed to have been with pro-Russian separatists before his disappearance. RIA Novosti has cited an unidentified source in Donetsk as saying Stenin had been taken by Ukraine's security services.
“We join our Russian affiliate, the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ), to express our serious concern for the well-being of our colleague Andrei Stenin,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “If he has been detained in Ukraine then we appeal for whoever is holding him to release him immediately.
“He is a journalist, not a soldier, and as such is entitled to move freely and report the truth without the threat of intimidation, violence or detention.”
The IFJ and the EFJ have re-stated their call for all journalists covering events in Ukraine or Russia to be given free and open reporting access at all times. In recent weeks several journalists have been detained in Russia and eastern Ukraine, while Ukrainian journalists are said to have been denied access to eastern Ukraine by the information ministries of the self-declared people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Given the precarious situation, the IFJ and the EFJ have also advised journalists covering developments to take every precaution necessary to ensure their safety at all times.
For journalists working in Ukraine and other areas of conflict, please read the IFJ’s 'Ukraine: Media Safety Advisory' on its safety website which provides a range of practical safety steps for journalists working in the field including the appropriate protective clothing to wear and how to cope with difficult situations.
For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 17
The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries