European Federation of Journalists

Ukraine: two Italian journalists unable to work after accreditations revoked

Credits: Vittorio di Trapani

Two Italian journalists, Andrea Sceresini and Alfredo Bosco, had their press accreditation withdrawn on 6 February 2023 while reporting for the public broadcaster Rai3 in Ukraine. Since then, they have been unable to work, awaiting interrogation by the Ukrainian security service (SBU). The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its Italian affiliate, the FNSI, in calling on the Ukrainian authorities to let the journalists continue their reporting by granting them new accreditation as soon as possible.

In a letter published in Il Fatto Quotidiano,the two freelance reporters wrote that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence had notified them of the suspension of their press accreditations, while they were returning from the Bakhmut front. This decision prevents them from moving freely within the country and therefore from working. Without a valid accreditation, they risk arrest.

“No one has told us the reasons for this measure. However, the rumours that have spread among the repairers working in Donbass – and of which we have written evidence – point to us as ‘collaborators of the enemy’, an accusation that in a war zone can have very serious consequences,” the letter reads.

According to media reports, Sceresini and Bosco are expected to be questioned by the Ukrainian security service but no information has been given on when and where. Both journalists have been in Ukraine since the beginning of the war.

In a post on Twitter, the newly elected president of the FNSI, Vittorio Di Trapani, said: “Ukraine’s blocking of the two journalists Andrea Sceresini and Alfredo Bosco on charges of “collaborating with the enemy” is unacceptable. Journalists do not participate in wars, they report on them. We must guarantee their safety and the right to carry out their work”.

At the request of the EFJ, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) raised the issue of the revocation of the accreditation of the two Italian journalists with the Ukrainian military authorities. A re-accreditation process is reportedly under consideration. The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been contacted on this issue.