Radio liberty arson attack ukraine
Ukraine: Investigative journalists face arson attacks and surveillance

Gavin.Rea

19 August 2020

No Comments

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) joins the International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ), and their Ukrainian affiliate, the National Union of Journalists in Ukraine (NUJU), in urging the authorities to launch a thorough investigation into the intimidation and attacks aimed at muzzling the investigations of a group of journalists in the country. The group of Ukrainian investigative journalists is being subjected to a campaign of harassment and intimidation, including surveillance and arson attacks.

 

The team’s car was set on fire during the night of Monday 17 August. Police found an explosive substance from the wreck of the car, which was completely destroyed.

 

Earlier this month, the project leader of the “Schemes: Corruption in Details” Mykhailo Tkach had reported signs of a break-in and surveillance in his home apartment.

 

“Schemes” is a joint project of Radio Svoboda and the Ukrainian Public Broadcaster, reporting on high-level corruption in Ukraine. The team was recently working on a piece called Kings of the Road revealing how high-level state officials breaks traffic rules with impunity. During the production of the programme, the journalists repeatedly voiced concerns about being under surveillance.

 

On 8 August, Tkach had informed police about finding evidence of surveillance measures in his home. Sources had warned him about instructions to monitor him. When police inspected his apartment, they discovered three holes in the shared attic above the apartment and one hole in the kitchen.

 

However, no surveillance equipment was found. The National Police filed a report for “violation of privacy”. The President of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), Sergiy Tomilenko, called on the authorities to thoroughly investigate information about the possible wiretapping of the journalists.

 

ECPMF has submitted an alert on the attack on its Mapping Media Freedom platform, while the IFJ and EFJ have submitted an alert condemning the situation to the Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists of the Council of Europe.

 

NUJU president Sergiy Tomilenko said: “Verbal harassment from high-level officials, attempted wiretapping, arson have all been directed against the journalists. Pressure on a group of journalists who reveal corruption at senior levels is a media freedom emergency. This sets alarm bells ringing for every investigative journalist in the capital and all over Ukraine. We demand that law enforcement agencies involve the best experts from the security services to investigate these cases.”

 

ECPMF’s Managing Director Lutz Kinkel said: “Investigative journalism is indispensable when it comes to holding the elite to account and to informing the public about societal issues. The murders of Ján Kuciak in Slovakia and Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta show that this journalism can be life endangering, if the respective state does not protect its journalists. We call on Ukrainian authorities to protect national journalists and thoroughly investigate the threats to the ‘Schemes’ team.”

Read news by categories:

Related news

Feature

Greece: MFRR partners welcome acquittal of journalists in Novartis criminal case

The partner organisations of the MFRR today welcome the resounding exoneration of four Greek journalists and publishers who faced criminal charges and potential lengthy prison sentences linked to their media outlets’ investigative reporting.

READ MORE
Feature

Netherlands: Press freedom organisations welcome policy debate on media freedom and journalists’ safety

The partners in the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and other undersigned press freedom organisations welcome the publication of the letter from the Dutch Government to the Parliament regarding a proposed policy approach on media freedom and safety of journalists.

READ MORE
Feature

ECPMF signs joint media freedom statement on the European Media Freedom Act

As the European Commission is finalising the draft proposal for a European Media Freedom Act, ECPMF has joined a coalition of media freedom groups to call for the EMFA to address issues around the European single market, media ownership and transparency of economic relations with the state, and how to support a vibrant, diverse and independent media sector.

READ MORE
Feature

Media freedom groups concerned by delay in investigation into leak of Emilia Șercan’s stolen photos

ECPMF joined a collection of media freedom and freedom of expression groups to express concern at delays to the investigation into the publication of Romanian journalist Emilia Șercan’s stolen photos and the alleged leak of key elements of the investigation into this offense. 

READ MORE
Mission

Czech Republic: MFRR pushes for reforms to strengthen independence of public broadcaster

Representatives from IPI and ECPMF travelled to Prague on 15 June to meet with officials from the Ministry of Culture and push for the development of reforms which strengthen the independence of the country’s public broadcaster.

READ MORE
Feature

Spain: Fine against photographer underscores urgent need for reform of Gag Law

Partners of the MFRR today express serious concern over the recent €1,000 fine issued to Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Javier Bauluz under Spain’s controversial “Gag Law”.

READ MORE