First posted at the International Journalism Committee site of the Society of Professional Journalists.
The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting has a detailed story about the dangers facing press freedom in Ukraine.
Since February of this year, journalists in Ukraine have complained of censorship pressures from the government. Reporters Without Borders issued a report in April that included:
“Many TV news reporters say they have been censored. Either their reports have been suppressed outright, or they have been changed substantially, always in such a way as to favor people of influence. They cite new formats or editorial directives that interfere in their reporting.”
Independent journalists report being targeted by police and security agents and even physically assaulted.
Blogger Oleh Shynkarenko criticized the president in July and the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) interrogated him for allegedly threatening the president’s life and insulting him. In September Artyom Furmanyuk, a journalist in the Eastern city of Donetsk, said he was severely beaten by police in an incident outside his home just hours after Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty ran his article on local government corruption.
It is beginning to look as if Ukraine is moving back to the bad old days of the Soviet empire. This is really something we need to keep our eyes on. (And that includes pressuring the U.S. government and the European Union to speak out.)