New attacks on media in eastern Ukraine, warns OSCE representative
VIENNA, 24 April 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic today warned about the continuing attacks on journalists and deterioration of media freedom environment in eastern Ukraine with new incidents involving media representatives.
According to the latest media reports:
- Nikolai Ryabchenko, a journalist contributing to many local and international media outlets, was attacked today by unidentified people and his equipment was damaged while covering an attack on the city council in Mariupol;
- Stepan Chirich, a journalist with Russian NTV channel and citizen of Belarus, disappeared today in Dnepropetrovsk oblast. His whereabouts are unknown, but there have been reports about the detention by the authorities of two journalists with Belarusian citizenship on suspicion of espionage;
- Evgenii Gapich, a photojournalist with Reporter newspaper from Ivano-Frankivsk, disappeared in Horlivka yesterday. His whereabouts are unknown, but allegedly he has been held in detention in Sloviansk;
- Also yesterday, the editorial office of Provintsia newspaper in Konstantinovka was set on fire. Earlier, the newspaper staff was harassed and publicly labelled as supporters of the Praviy Sektor movement;
- On Monday, Seitislam Kishveev and Shevket Ganiyev, Director and Editor of Crimean Tatar programs on Crimean State TV respectively, reported about growing censorship on the channel and were forced to take two weeks of leave.
In addition, Simon Ostrovsky, a journalist with Vice News, who was captured by unidentified people in uniform in Sloviansk, remains in detention.
“I strongly encourage all parties to refrain from restrictive, censoring and violent practices with regard to journalists. Silencing and persecuting mass media is not acceptable under any circumstances,” Mijatović said.