The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the
escalation of violence against media after a series of attacks against
journalists by protection officers of both Ukrainian President and Prime
Ministers in recent months. Other journalists have also bee victims of similar
assaults by lower ranking officials.
"We condemn this mindless violence against journalists who are only doing
their job," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "The authorities must
respect our colleagues' right to safety and ensure their security services stop
to the Kyev Independent Media Trade Union (KMTU), an IFJ affiliate, there
have been a number of incidents since September in which protections officers
of the President and Prime Minister assaulted journalists. Some have been beaten up,
had their equipment damaged and photographs taken at official events deleted
from their cameras.
The KMTU has recorded four violent incidents on media
since June 2010. They concern the attack on Sergei Andrushko of STB channel who
was knocked to the ground by President Yanukovych's protection officer on 15
June, followed by another incident also involving a presidential minder who
destroyed all photos from Gazeta reporter Tatiana Svetnytska's camera on 30
September and the latest attack by the Prime Minister Azarov's bodyguard on
Channel 5 TV crew in Kyiv on 29 November 2010, destroying their camera.
The authorities have taken no action over these
attacks and journalists fear low ranking officials are increasingly resorting
to violence against media, as a result. The KMTU cites the case of Mayor of
Free Choice journalist Dementiv Belyi who was beaten up by Mayor Volodymyr
Saldo of Kherson on 14 September 2010.
The IFJ supports the KMTU's call on Ukrainian
authorities to show zero tolerance towards violence against journalists,
especially in this year of the tenth anniversary of the murder of journalist Gyorgy
"The culture of impunity for crime against media
perpetrators calls into question the claim to rule of law in Ukraine," added
White. " We hold the Government's highest authorities responsible for the
safety of our colleagues."
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22
The IFJ represents more than
600.000 members in 125 countries