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Ukrainian media association condemns attacks on journalists, call on Zelenskyy to react

Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 12:17
Ukrainian media association condemns attacks on journalists, call on Zelenskyy to react
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Mediarukh, a Ukrainian media association, which brings together journalists and media experts, considers the systematic pressure on independent journalists and investigators a crime. In connection with this, they called on President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, law enforcement, and civil society to react.

Source: Mediarukh’s statement; Radio Liberty; Detector Media

Quote from Mediarukh: "Anonymous Telegram channels, openly declaring their alignment with the authorities and consistently defending them, as well as smear websites, are systematically targeting independent media and investigative journalists. They orchestrate real-life provocations against them. Unknown aggressors attempt to portray Ukrainian journalists as 'enemies of the people', Russian agents, individuals with substance dependencies, aiming to discredit their professional work."

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Details: The statement highlights recent pressure on journalists, particularly mentioning the case of Yurii Nikolov from the Nashi Hroshi ["Our money"] project, as well as Bihus.Info, an investigative project.

Earlier, Mediarukh pointed out that pressure has been exerted on Ukrainska Pravda, Detector Media, NV, Censor, Babel, and Liga.net media.

"Besides provocations and attempts to discredit [journalists], there is surveillance, phone eavesdropping, and violations of journalists' right to privacy – all to exert pressure on independent media," Mediarukh emphasises.

The statement emphasises that "all these actions are crimes that require an immediate response from law enforcement agencies" and that cause harm to the future of Ukraine as a democratic state.

"We urge law enforcement agencies to consider the seriousness of the situation and promptly identify those involved in organising these persecutions and attacks on journalists and hold them accountable," the statement stresses.

Mediarukh noted that "protecting freedom of speech and ending provocations against journalists is in the interest of the state leadership, as anonymous Telegram channels, presumably involved in organising these provocations, explicitly refer to these actions as retaliation for criticising the government, including the president".

Mediarukh also called on international partners to defend persecuted journalists, stating that "only public oversight guarantees the steadfast adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, and effective anti-corruption measures that your countries adhere to and that Ukraine seeks to implement".

"Only through the joint efforts of society and the state can we overcome threats to our sovereignty and freedom. We will not let those who attempt to intimidate independent Ukrainian media destroy our unity. Because it is only in unity that we find the guarantee of our victory," concludes the statement.

For reference: Mediarukh was established on 5 February 2019. It is a community that brings together journalists from leading Ukrainian media, investigative journalists, and media experts from civic organisations.

Background:

  • Before this, investigative journalist Yurii Nikolov, who conducted several high-profile investigations, including those related to corruption in procurement for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, reported on 14 January that unknown individuals attempted to break into his home, trying to intimidate him.
  • On 16 January, a video was leaked online showing employees of the investigative project Bihus.Info allegedly using drugs. The project's head, Denyh Bihus, recorded a video statement with explanations, assuring that everyone cooperating with Bihus.Info would undergo drug tests.
  • Later, Bihus stated that after communicating with the individuals featured in the video, it was revealed that members of the Bihus.Info editorial team had been under surveillance for about a year. The edited fragments of intercepted conversations were assembled from several episodes, with months passing between them.

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