Ukraine: EFJ and IFJ condemn Russian jailing of journalist Roman Sushchenko for espionage

UPDATE 12.09.2018: On 12 September, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation upheld the verdict delivered by the Moscow City Court to Ukrinform journalist Roman Sushchenko, who was sentenced to 12 years in a high-security prison. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) have urged the Russian authorities to release a Ukrainian journalist given a 12-year sentence for alleged espionage. Roman Sushchenko was sentenced to 12 years in a high-security prison on 4 June 2018, after he was found guilty of spying by a Moscow court. The EFJ-IFJ joined its affiliates the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) and the…

Ukraine: court grants access to information from two investigative journalists’ phones

Courts in Kyiv, Ukraine, have granted the Prosecutor General’s Office access to information of mobile data provider of two investigative journalists. This decision is linked to an ongoing investigation against Artme Sytnyk, head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), in which a group of journalists are involved as witnesses. On 27 August, the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv granted access to text messages, calls and location logs from the phone of journalist and editor-in-chief of an investigative TV show  “Schemes. Corruption in detail”, Natalie Sedletska. On 5 September, a court in Kyiv has ruled an analogous decision concerning information from the…

EFJ calls again for immediate release of Donetsk journalist Stanislav Aseev

UPDATE (21/08/2018): Ukrainian media and human rights organisations issued a statement today to condemn the so-called “interview” with detained journalist Stanislav Aseev aired by Rossiya 24. ————– Russian television channel Rossiya 24 has aired on August 17 an interview with kidnapped journalist Stanislav Aseev, in which he “confesses” to working for Ukrainian intelligence in Donbass. The interview has raised concerns that Aseev, who has been illegally imprisoned in Donetsk for over a year, was coerced into confessing to false espionage charges. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has said it considers the “confession” of spying for the Ukrainian government given by Stanislav Aseyev “to…

Ukraine: Turkish journalist under threat

A Ukraine-based Turkish journalist has told the International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) he fears for his safety after his name appeared on an “abduction list” published by local media. The IFJ and EFJ have called on the Ukrainian authorities to take urgent action to protect Yunus Erdogdu, founder and owner of the first Turkish language news website in Ukraine, following the detention and deportation of another journalist earlier this month. On July 12, Turkish journalist Yusuf Inan was detained by Turkish intelligence services in Ukraine accused of being a member of the Gulenist movement which the authorities claim…

The EFJ asks the Council of Europe to declare Pavel Sheremet’s murder a case of impunity

Ukrainian journalist Pavel Sheremet was murdered on 20 July 2016. On the second anniversary of his death, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) believes that the investigation into his assassination failed to look properly into who committed and commissioned the crime. “Two years after his assassination, we should consider the journalist’s murder as an impunity case. That is why the European Federation of Journalists asked the Council of Europe platform for the protection of journalism to change the status of the alert on Pavel Sheremet’s killing to the category of “impunity”. Ukraine will become one of the worst European States…

Russian Union of Journalists’ President banned from entering Ukraine

The Security Service of Ukraine banned Russian Union of Journalists’ president Vladimir Solovyov from entering to Ukrainian territory for a three-year period. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) condemned this decision. The ban was decided by Ukrainian security services in February, although it has not been made public until 19 July. Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU) has published a letter they received from the Department of National Security of the State Security Service of Ukraine which stated that the ban was issued “in the interests of ensuring the national security of Ukraine”. The federations urge both the Russian…

Ukraine: Draft bill to allow blocking of Internet sites without a court order

On 4 July 2018, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Committee on security and defence approved a draft bill that would enable prosecution and the National Security and Defence Council to block Internet sites they deem threatening to national security without a court ruling. According to the bill, Internet sites, can be blocked temporarily if they “threaten national security” or “have an impact on decision-making, or the action or inaction, of national or local government bodies, officials of these bodies, associations of citizens, or legal entities”. Internet providers would have to purchase equipment that would allow the security services to monitor traffic and…

Ukraine needs a national action plan for the safety of journalists

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) called on the Ukrainian government to launch a national action plan for the protection of journalists, in cooperation with Ukrainian journalists’ unions. Ricardo Gutiérrez, General Secretary of the EFJ, attended the OSCE expert conference, organised in Kiev, on 26 June, by the OSCE Representative on Media Freedom, Harlem Désir. Pointing out the deterioration of media freedom in the country, since 2015, Gutiérrez called on Ukrainian authorities to launch an action plan for the safety of journalists, together with all the relevant stakeholders, including the EFJ affiliates in the country, the National Union of Journalists…

OSCE Expert Conference: Strengthening media freedom and pluralism in Ukraine during times of conflict

The nature of conflict in the world has changed, and along with it the relationship between the media and society. Modern technologies, while presenting new opportunities for the collection of information and the dissemination of reporting, also present new dangers. Trolls and bots can now help “false news” and “hate speech” to propagate in the digital sphere threatening security and stability of societies. Yet, maintaining a free press has never been more important. Disinformation, censorship, and attacks on investigative reporters endanger it by destroying trust and accountability between and within our nations and democratic institutions. When these negative phenomena are…

EFJ adopts urgent motion on threats against journalists in Ukraine

Delegates of the Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists, meeting in Lisbon, Portugal on June 6, 2018 have mandated the Steering Committee members of the EFJ to adopt an urgent motion on “threats against journalists in Ukraine” in order to put an end to climate of threats, violence and persecution against our colleagues in this country. Following the decision, the Steering Committee members have adopted on June 8, 2018 the following motion : The Annual Meeting of the EFJ, meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, on June 6th, 2018, condemns the increasing verbal and online violence against journalists in Ukraine.…

IFJ and EFJ condemn threats against journalists in Ukraine

The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) condemned today the increasing verbal and online violence against journalists in Ukraine. On 30 May 2018, Larissa Sargan, spokeswoman of the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, posted on her Facebook profile a list of 26 so-called “traitors” who criticized the law enforcement authorities after the so-called “murder” in Kyiv of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko. The “murder” was in fact an operation in which Ukrainian security services (SBU) faked Babchenkos’s assassination. Two journalists appear in Larissa Sargan’s list of so-called traitors: Myroslava Gongadze and Sergiy Tomilenko, who is the President of the National Union…

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