Background and rationale
Safety of journalists is a very important issue for Ukraine, especially after the appalling murder of journalist Pavlo Sheremet in Kyiv in July. Generally there was a splash of violence against journalists in Ukraine in 2016 which was recorded by Ukrainian and international media watchdogs. This is the result of impunity of crimes against journalists. Part of it is caused by the Myrotvorets web-site, as it sent the message to society that “all journalists are evil because they collaborated with authorities of self-proclaimed DNR/LNR” and some authorities promoted this message. In most cases the journalists were attacked by ordinary people on the streets and the violence can escalate.
During 9 months of 2016, the Institute of Mass Information has registered one murder, 26 cases of assault, 77 cases of impeding journalists activities and 7 cases of censorship.
On September 30, Roman Sushchenko, correspondent to France of the national information agency Ukrinform, was detained and charged with espionage in Moscow. Sushchenko informed human rights defenders that he suffered psychological pressure during the arrest, and wasnt allowed to call his wife or Ukranian consulate. Lefortovo administration deprived the committee from any information about Sushchenko case and details about charges he is facing.
Safety of journalists is a priority of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine for 2015-2017, in particular reinforcing the institutional framework for prevention and effective investigation as regards the safety of journalists.
The conference aims to assess the current situation in the sphere of safety of journalists in Ukraine and develop recommendations for improving the situation. It will raise awareness about the Council of Europe standards, in particular, Articles 2 and 10 of the European Convention for Human Rights.
The online Council of Europe Platform on safety of journalists as well as results of the “Journalist at Risk: Part of the job?” study on self-censorship and unwarranted interference among journalists in the Council of Europe member States, will be presented during the conference in Kyiv.
The conference is organised a week before the International Day to End Impunity (2 November).
The project has supported preparation of two briefs by IMI lawyers 1) Existing legislation and legislative initiatives on safety of journalists in Ukraine; and 2) Investigations of the freedom of expression infringements in Ukraine and case law of Ukrainian courts on protection of professional activity of journalists;
Up to 120 participants: representatives of government, Members of Parliament, war correspondents, Representatives of media outlets (both national and regional including from the East), media NGOs, managers of regional investigative departments of National Police, Representatives from Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova), representatives of international organisations and Embassies.
|09:30-10:00||Registration, welcome coffee|
|10:40-12:00||Session 1. Analysis of the Ukraine’s legislation in the area of safety of journalists and European standards|
Issues to be discussed:
– Existing legislation and legislative initiatives on safety of journalists in Ukraine
– European standards on safety of journalists
|12:20-14:00||Session 2. Assessment of the practical situation with safety of journalists in Ukraine, including how law-enforcement agencies and courts are dealing with these cases|
|Moderator: Oksana Romaniuk, Director of Institute of Mass Information, Ukrainian Representative of Reporters Without Borders
Issues to be discussed:
– Investigations of the freedom of expression infringements in Ukraine and case law of Ukrainian courts on protection of professional activity of journalists
– Myrotvorets web-site leaks of personal data of journalists
|15:00-16:20||Session 3. Assessment of the situation with safety of journalists in the conflict zones (ATO and Crimea)
– Accreditation procedure and real access of journalists to ATO zone
|16:40-17:40||Session 4. Launch of Self-censorship study|
|17:40-18:00||Conclusions and recommendations|