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Ukrainian Journalists Report Declines in Assault, but Face Restricted Access to Information, says IMI

June 6:  On the occasion of Ukrainian Journalists’ Day, the Institute of Mass Information (IMI), our long-standing partner, has released its monthly monitoring entitled ‘Freedom of Press Barometer’.

In the five months of 2017, IMI recorded a total of 102 cases of violations of freedom of press across Ukraine. It’s a slight improvement in the numbers from the same period last year when they recorded 108 cases of violations.

Speaking at a news conference, IMI’s Kateryna Diachuk presented the worst violations that Ukrainian journalists have to deal with.

“We have recorded the largest number of violations in the category ‘obstruction to journalists’ lawful professional activities’ – 32 cases, down from 38 cases in the same period of 2016. This year we are seeing a growing tendency in violations in the category ‘access to public information’. In particular, we have recorded 16 cases of violations related to access to open sources of information — up from last year’s 7 cases. Finally, the number of journlaists receiving threats is on a rise too – which is rather alarming,” Diachuk said.

At the same time, IMI has observed a decline in the number of cases of physical aggression against journalists in Ukraine. As of June 1, IMI experts recorded 6 cases of beatings, attacks and assaults on journalists, down from last year’s 18 cases.

Reporters and media experts alike are also alarmed by a growing number of cases when journalists’ property gets deliberately damaged: IMI recorded 8 cases, a massive increase from just one case last year.

Top-10 worst regions with the highest recorded numbers of violations this year are:

Kyiv and Kyiv region (24 cases),

Poltava region (10 cases) and

Mykolayiv region (8 cases).

This year, the main aggressors and violators of journalists’ rights were: private individuals – 58 cases, local authorities– 14 cases, law enforcement and security officers – 7 cases, and judicial authorities – 5 cases.

Read full report.

The ‘Freedom of Press Barometer’ monitoring is supported by Internews-led U-Media Project and the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.