European Federation of Journalists

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 of journalists of Ukraine, an EFJ and IFJ affiliate.

On 16 May 2018, Iryna Gerashchenko, first vice-speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, attacked verbally the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine. She accused NUJU to cooperate with “Kremlin propagandists”. In the following days, Sergiy Tomilenko was targeted by online threats (mainly Facebook posts and comments) calling Ukrainian Security Services to imprison him.

“We strongly condemn this intimidation campaign from public officials and we call on Ukrainian authorities to put an end to any act of harassment targeting journalists and representatives of journalists’ organisations”, said together the IFJ and EFJ General Secretaries, Anthony Bellanger and Ricardo Gutiérrez.

The IFJ and EFJ submitted an alert on these threats to the Council of Europe Platform for the Protection of Journalism and the Safety of Journalists.

Picture credit: Andriy Dubchak / RFE-RL.