Ukraine: Slow improvement in working conditions for journalists, union says

Ukrainian media workers face dangerous working conditions despite recent improvement through cooperation agreements with law enforcement agencies, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) reported. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate in calling on the authorities and police to work harder to ensure a safe working environment for journalists.

Credits: NUJU

The NUJU also reported some positive news, such as the launch of public campaigns and activities with international partners. In October, the NUJU worked on the publication of the special Ukrainian-language translation of UNESCO "Guidelines for prosecutors on cases of crimes against journalists".

These guidelines help Ukrainian prosecutors with skills in handling crimes against journalists and bringing the perpetrators to justice and holding them accountable for their actions. The union has also worked to introduce tools for prompt response and control of such cases.

According to the National Police of Ukraine, the number of cases of "obstruction of journalistic activity" decreased by 20% in recent months.

Despite these reported improvements, journalists still face harassment and attacks both online and when reporting on the field, the NUJU claims.

On 21 August 2021, President Volodymyr Zelenskyj banned by decree, one of the largest news sites in Ukraine. The authorities also announced sanctions against the outlet’s editor-in-chief, who has been living in Austria since 2018.

The IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “We welcome the improvements reported by the NUJU and praise its work to improve Ukrainian journalists' working conditions. However, we still believe that the authorities are still failing in securing journalists' fundamental rights and that there are still cases of murdered journalists that remain unsolved.”

The NUJU President Sergiy Tomilenko said: “Every 5 days in Ukraine there is a physical attack on a journalist. Working in the media is really dangerous. Our colleagues are subjected to harassment and threats, also online. But every attack on the rights of journalists is an attack on the right of citizens to know the truth. We call for a proper reaction of the society, for the solidarity of the journalists themselves, for a proper reaction of the authorities, the law enforcement system, and the courts. Stop impunity!”

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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