Freedom of expression in Ukraine, including the freedom of the media and journalists, has deteriorated even further amid the crisis. Massive use of police force against protestors has resulted in nearly 1,700 victims of violence, according to sources. The death toll from clashes during the past day currently stands at 25, according to a report from CNN.
Journalists trying to cover the popular demonstrations are increasingly coming under fire from police and security forces; with nearly 140 attacks on journalists recorded since November by the Association of Independent Regional Publishers of Ukraine (AIRPU), a number expected to rise as a result of the current violence.
WAN-IFRA Deputy CEO Larry Kilman arrived in Kiev with the international press freedom partnership as the protests escalated. “Journalists covering the clashes are facing enormous difficulties and danger in carrying out their essential role to inform the public. They are our eyes and ears and attacks on them are attacks on society as a whole,” Mr Kilman said from the Ukraine capital. “We are here in solidarity. The authorities must do their utmost to make sure journalists can work without fear of being targeted. Theses attacks must be investigated and those responsible brought to justice.”
The international partnership behind the Kiev mission was established in response to calls from Ukrainian organisations for expression of international solidarity. The mission’s main aims are to improve the safety of journalists and to push for legislative reform so media organisations and journalists can conduct their work professionally.
Members of the partnership include WAN-IFRA, International Media Support, the International Federation of Journalists/European Federation of Journalists, Article 19 and Reporters Without Borders.
WAN-IFRA’s Press Freedom Blog carries an informative dossier on the implications of the Ukranian crisis for journalists and freedom of expression.
Photo: Independence Square in Kiev this morning, by Larry Kilman
Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Deputy CEO and Director of Communications and Public Affairs, WAN-IFRA, 96 bis, rue Beaubourg, 75003 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 07. Fax: +33 1 42 78 92 33. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org