IFJ Calls for Safe Return of Missing Ukraine Journalist

 
The

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called for the safe return

of Vasily Klimentyev, editor in chief of Novy

Stil ( New style) newspaper who has been missing since 11 August.

"We are deeply

concerned about the safety of Klimentyev," said Aidan White, IFJ General

Secretary. "The Government must do all it can to identify his whereabouts and

return him to his family and colleagues who must be fearing the worst."

According to

security sources quoted in Ukrainian press, Klimentyev went missing on 11

August after he left his home with an unidentified man.  Klimentyev's colleagues say he set out to

photograph luxurious residences belonging to a high ranking official in the

Regional tax inspectorate. Shortly afterwards, contact with the journalist was

lost.

The

journalists' colleagues believe his disappearance is linked to his

investigative work into corruption in local courts, the police and the tax

inspectorate. This view was reinforced after his mobile phone was discovered on

a boat on the Pechenezhsky reservoir on the outskirts of Kharkov. The police

are investigating the possibility of premeditated murder.

Meanwhile, the

authorities have promised a reward of 20,000 hryvna (approximately 2,500 US

dollars) for information that could help establish the whereabouts of the

missing journalist. The Minister of Internal Affairs for the Ukraine, Anatoly

Mogilyov, and the chairman of the Kharkov Region administration, Mikhail

Dobkin, have placed the investigation under their personal supervision, media

reports say.

The IFJ says

Klimentyev's disappearance raises the spectre of renewed violence against

independent journalists, one month before the tenth anniversary of the brutal

murder of prominent journalist Gyorgy Gongadze. This disappearance is the latest in a

series of incidents and legal restrictions targeting journalists including

assaults, surveillance and withdrawal of broadcasting licenses to private media

outlets.

"There is clear evidence of attempts to roll back

press freedom in Ukraine," added White. "We support Ukrainian journalists and

their unions in their efforts to resist political interference, fight media

manipulation and end violence against their colleagues."

For more information contact the IFJ at  

+32 235 2207

The IFJ represents over

600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide