Attack on Head of Public Broadcaster in Ukraine

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have joined their Ukraine affiliates in calling for Ukraine's prosecutor general to open a criminal case against the members of the far-right nationalist party, Svoboda, who carried out an appalling attack against the head of the country's public television broadcaster.

According to reports, a group of members of Svoboda, including MP's Igor Miroshnichenko, Bohdan Beniuk and Andrew Illienko, invaded the office of NTCU Director General, Alexander Panteleymonov, on Wednesday evening, 18 March. The attack, which was filmed and posted to Youtube, shows the group of men manhandle and repeatedly strike Panteleymonov while shouting at him to write a letter of resignation. Reports say he was later bundled into a car before being released.

IFJ/EFJ's Ukrainian affiliates, the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU) and the National Union of the Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) have demanded that a criminal case is taken against those who committed the crime.

The IFJ has given its full backing to the call from its affiliates.

"This appalling act of thuggery and propaganda was a clear attempt to strike fear into media workers at Ukraine state broadcaster," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "But what is even more appalling is that MPs were involved in the disgraceful attack.  

"We join our Ukrainian colleagues to demand that a criminal case is immediately brought against the members of Svoboda who carried out this disgusting act."

Pantelymonov is said to be in a state of shock following the result. A staff meeting at NTCU today elected one of Mr Panteleymonov's deputies, Yuriy Romanchuk, to head the broadcaster pending Mr Panteleymonov's return. NTCU switched off its signals for one minute to protest against the attack. For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 17
The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries