77 cases of violence against journalists in Ukraine were observed in 2020 within the Index of physical security of journalists held by the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) and partner organizations. Head of NUJU Serhiy Tomilenko reported that on Facebook.
Meanwhile, the overall number of suffered workers of media is even more – 101 people. The attacks on the shooting crews and groups of journalists are commonly spotted. In 2019, 75 incidents of physical aggression against journalists were observed and 86 workers of media suffered. The growth of the number of violence cases against journalists is mostly tied with the psychological pressure in society caused by quarantine restrictions.
The disapproval rating of the physical aggression against journalists in 2020 is traditionally headed by Kyiv region. In Ukraine’s capital and its region – 26 cases of violence were observed. Odesa is at second place with nine cases, Lviv and Kharkiv regions – 6 cases at each region, Dnipropetrovsk and Kherson – 5 cases in each region.
The level of the physical aggression against female journalists is stably high. 36 female employees of media suffered over the previous year (in 2019, the number made 34).
The new dangerous topic for coverage is the observation of the quarantine restrictions in Ukraine. In such cases, 14 attacks on the mass media representatives were observed.
The representatives of police or different law enforcement structured used force against media workers six times; officials and lawmakers – four times. During one of the cases, the weapon was used.
The NUJU is sure that the profession of journalist became dangerous due to the systematic impunity for crimes against mass media workers and the atmosphere of hatred incited by public figures. Meanwhile, the NUJU noted that in 2020, the National Police usually operatively responded to the information about the interference of the journalist activity. However, without cases of successful investigation and punishment of attackers, the wave of physical aggression against mass media workers in Ukraine will not be stopped.
“Currently, there is no understanding by society of profession and the importance of the mission held by the journalists. Harassment, deliberate intimidation, gross preventing of professional activity is the norm for some people. It makes the profession of the journalist dangerous,” Tomilenko said.
He reminded that the high-profile murders of the journalists are still not solved. There is no progress in the case of the murder of Vadym Komarov, the journalist and investigator from Cherkasy (2019).
“The profession of the journalist is very important for society. The mass media representatives put themselves in danger and work without weekends. They cover the most critical points, risk health and life during the pandemic and armed conflicts. The state should guarantee the protection of the right for safe work and eradication of systematic impunity for crimes against journalists,” Tomilenko noted.
As we reported, 25 cases of physical aggression against the Ukrainian journalists took place during three months of autumn in 2020. During the last four years, it is the largest number of incidents that occurred in autumn; the lowest number was observed in 2019 (16 cases), in 2017 – 21 incidents, in 2018 – 23 incidents.
Watch review of Year 2020 here: