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As the violence and turmoil escalates in Ukraine’s capital city, there have been many reports of widespread abuse, intimidation and violence against journalists covering the protests. To date, over 150 journalists and media workers have been attacked.

To respond to the crisis, the International Federation of Journalists and the European Federation of Journalists have launched a campaign calling for your support to demand the Ukrainian Government to respect press freedom and end attacks on journalists in the country.

In this special newsletter, we have gathered the latest information and analysis on:

ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS


The video was recorded by the Euronews cameraman who was beaten by police during the clashes in Kiev back in December 2013. Since then, more than 150 journalists have been attacked during the protests.

In the past few days alone, a total of 42 journalists have been attacked while reporting on the protests. It is feared that the number of attacks will increase as the situation escalates.

The IFJ and EFJ affiliates in Ukraine, the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU) and the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), will be monitoring the situation closely and are providing the latest updates on the attacks on journalists.
(source: http://chesno.org/en/news/1816/)

SAFETY FIRST

The safety of journalists in Ukraine has reached a critical point. We strongly advise journalists who are covering the protests in Kiev take all necessary measures and precautions.

 

Top safety tips:

  • Always remain in a team. Safety is best in numbers, especially at night. Think about linking together if it gets violent.
  • Always arrange interviews outside of the riot area itself.
  • Know your rights: you have the right to remain silent and to be assisted by a competent and independent lawyer of your choice.
  • Carry first aid kits and learn how to use them.
  • Establish pre-arranged contact points with the rest of your team (photographer, camera operator, producer, etc.) if you are separating.
  • Tear gas is used to control riots, disperse crowds, and subdue individuals. It is intended to cause pain. The effects of the gas usually are temporary. You can expect relief from most of the symptoms within a couple of hours of exposure.
For a full list of safety advice, download here.

In need of financial assistant? Apply for the Safety Fund


If you are a journalist in need of financial assistance for immediate medical, legal or security expenses, you can apply to the IFJ Safety Fund.

The Safety Fund was set up to provide a lifeline to colleagues around the world who experience violence, threats and injuries as a result of the work they do, ensuring help is at hand when most needed.

To apply, please visit our website for more details or contact Ernest Sagaga.

Reacting to attacks - a video guide

LEGAL RESTRICTIONS ON JOURNALISTS


On 17 January, the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovich, signed a bill (No. 3879) hastily passed by the parliament. It has led to public outcry and further intensified the crisis. Today, the President and the parliament agreed to repeal the bill under pressure from demonstrators and international organisations.

The new law, under the guise of national security, proposes a series of restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association.
 

Who will be affected by Bill 3879?

  • journalists and media professionals
  • trade unions or associations
  • charities and NGOs
  • citizens

 What journalistic activities are considered unlawful?

  • Participating in demonstrations ‘‘with objects prepared for committing unlawful actions’’ can be punished by up to 15 days imprisonment.
  • Defamation is considered as a criminal offence and punishable. 
  • Investigative reporting on law enforcement officials and judges can be considered as an invasion of privacy.
  • Critical information or online media can be blocked upon the order of the state.
  • Trade unions or associations that receive funding from foreign sources and carrying out ‘political activities’ which usually involve human rights campaigning will be scrutinised by the Ministry of Justice.

WHAT ACTION CAN YOU TAKE?


Journalists in Ukraine are in desperate need of your support. There are actions you can take:
  • Make your voice heard by sending a petition letter (download) to the Ukrainian President calling for an end to violence against journalists.
  • Join our social media campaign, hashtag your solidarity message to #SOS_Kiev.
  • Help us document attacks on journalists, hashtag alerts or pictures to #SOS_Kiev  or contact us.
  • Provide refuge for fleeing journalists from Ukraine for safety reasons.
  • Donate to our Safety Fund to provide financial assistant to journalists.

Your support can help make a change in Ukraine. Take Action now!
© Yuk Lan Wong

Contact


For more information or media support, please contact communications@ifj.org

 


For local support, please contact our affiliates at  vynnychuk@ukr.net



You can also visit our campaign page to find out more updates.
Copyright © 2014 European Federation of Journalists, All rights reserved.


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