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International conference: Safety of Journalists in Ukraine. Ending impunity

October 25, 2016 @ 9:30 am - 6:00 pm

Organisers:

  • Presidential Administration of Ukraine
  • Council on protection of journalistic activity and freedom of speech (under the President of Ukraine)
  • Parliamentary Committee on freedom of speech and information policy
  • Ministry of Information Policy
  • CSO “Institute of Mass Information”
  • Council of Europe Project “Strengthening freedom of the media and establishing a public broadcasting system in Ukraine”

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;

Participants

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.

Draft agenda

 

09:30-10:00 Registration, welcome coffee
10:00-10:40 Opening remarks

 

  • Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine (TBC)
  • Valeriya Lutkovska, Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights (TBC)
  • Viktoria Syumar, Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information Policy(TBC)
  • Philippe Boillat/Patrick Penninckx, the Council of Europe  (TBC)
  • Hugues Mingarelli, Ambassador, Head of EU Delegation to Ukraine (TBC)

 

10:40-12:00 Session 1. Analysis of the Ukraine’s legislation in the area of safety of journalists and European standards
Moderator: TBC

 

Issues to be discussed:

–       Existing legislation and legislative initiatives on safety of journalists in Ukraine

–       European standards on safety of journalists

 

Speakers:

 

  • Representative of the  Council on protection of journalistic activity and freedom of speech (under the President of Ukraine)
  • Representative of  the European Court of Human Rights
  • Roman Golovenko, media lawyer of the Institute of Mass Information
  • Sergiy Tomilenko, First  Secretary of the Journalists Union of Ukraine
  • Ricardo Gutiérrez, General Secretary of the European Federation of Journalists

 

12:00-12:20 Coffee break
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

 

Speakers:

  • Maksym Ratushniy, media lawyer of the Institute of Mass Information
  • Maksym Tsustskiridze, deputy Head of Department, head of Section of the  Chief Investigatory Department of the National Police of Ukraine
  • Johann Bihr, Head of Eastern Europe & Central Asia Desk, Reporters without Borders (TBC)
  • Nataliya Sedletska, journalist of Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty
  • Mykhailo Tkach, journalist of Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty
  • Prosecutors Office
  • Supreme Council of Justice
14:00-15:00 Lunch
15:00-16:20 Session 3. Assessment of the situation with safety of journalists in the conflict zones (ATO and Crimea)

 

 

Moderator: TBC

 

–       Accreditation procedure and real access of journalists to ATO zone

 

Speakers:

  • Oksana Gavryliuk, Head of Department of press and communication of the Ministry of defense
  • State Security Service
  • Tetiana Pechonchyk, CSO “Center of Information and Human Rights”
  • Anna Andriyevska, journalist of Cimea.realities
  • Andriy Tsaplienko, correspondent of TSN (1+1 TV channel)
  • Mykhailo Shtekel, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty
  • Maks Levin, photo correspondent of Lb.ua
16:20-16:40 Coffee break
16:40-17:40 Session 4. Launch of Self-censorship study
  Moderator: TBC

Speakers:

  • Patrick Pennickx, head of Information Society Department – on Online Platform on safety of Journalists
  • Marilyn Clark, professor of the University of Malta – presentation of the “Journalists at Risk: Part of the Job?” study
  • European expert – situation with safety of journalists in Ukraine in the larger European background
  • Oksana Romaniuk (TBC)– situation with self-censorship in Ukraine

 

17:40-18:00 Conclusions and recommendations

 

Details

Date:
October 25, 2016
Time:
9:30 am - 6:00 pm
Event Tags:
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Organizer

CoE

Venue

Radisson Hotel
Yaroslaviv Val, 22
Kiev, Ukraine
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