Amid the turmoil and violence in Kiev and other cities across Ukraine in the last few days, the Ukrainian affiliates of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have taken a range of practical actions to support the rights and freedoms of journalists covering events.
In the past week the Independent Media Trade-Union of Ukraine (IMTUU) and the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) have:
- Turned their offices on Khreschatyk street into a press centre where journalists can rest, recharge their phones and get access to the internet to check the latest events or send their materials to editorial offices.
- Provided advice to journalists on their rights and their safety and collected information about journalist rights violations
- Helped distribute safety equipment including special "Press" waistcoats for journalists in the hope they will reduce violence against media workers
- Established a Rapid Response Team to investigate and document all attacks on journalists.
They have additionally called for:
- An open investigation into the violence of 1 December in which up to fifty journalists were beaten by police and special forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
- The resignation of the Minister for Internal Affairs, Vitaliy Zackharchenko, which was also demanded by the Parliamentary Commission for Freedom of Speech
The IFJ/EFJ have given their full backing to IMTUU and NUJU, as they battle to support the legal rights, safety and freedom of movement of journalists on the front line during this traumatic period.
"We commend the tireless and committed work of our affiliates in Ukraine to support journalists who are covering the country's protests," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "There has been widespread violence against local and international journalists and our unions are providing the practical assistance that media workers so vitally require."
According to the unions, Ukrainian police have arrested nine people, one of whom is a journalist. A lawyer from the NUJU is providing the journalist with legal representation.
"Many local and international journalists are putting their safety at risk to report on the protests in Kiev and across Ukraine, said IMTUU President Yuriy Lukanov."They are reporting on the true nature of the protests and we are doing everything in our power to support them."
"Their role is of critical importance because the local media is not reporting in a manner that reflects the true nature of events. The IMTUU and NUJU call on Ukrainian media to report trustfully and correctly on the protests and make sure the public are fully aware of what is occurring."
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 17
The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries