JOURNALISTS HELD BY PRO-RUSSIANS IN EASTERN UKRAINE

23.04.14


STATEMENT BY THE
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS

 

New York, April 22, 2014—The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the safety of Simon Ostrovsky, a reporter with the U.S.-based global news channel VICE News, who is being held in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk. Ostrovsky is in the custody of pro-Russian separatists led by self-proclaimed “people’s mayor” Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, according to news reports.

“We call on those holding Simon Ostrovsky to immediately release him and stop detaining, harassing, and obstructing journalists reporting on the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “If Vyacheslav Ponomaryov and his associates aspire to gain legitimacy, detaining journalists is counterproductive.”

VICE News said in a statement that it is working “to secure the safety and security of our friend and colleague.”

Sloviansk has become an increasingly dangerous place for journalists in recent days. Sergei Lefter, reporter for the Warsaw-based Open Dialogue Foundation, was reported missing in the city as of April 15. He is still unaccounted for. In a separate case in Sloviansk, on Monday, pro-Russian separatists captured Italian journalists Paul Gogo and Kossimo Attanasio and Belarusian reporter Dmitry Galko; the journalists were released later that day but their reporting equipment, money, and personal documents were confiscated, according to local press reports.

CPJ is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.

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VIENNA, 22 April 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today expressed deep concern about new cases of detention and attacks on journalists in eastern Ukraine.

“I remain deeply concerned about the ongoing negative pattern in relation to journalists’ safety in Ukraine” Mijatović said. “I call on all those responsible to stop harassing and attacking journalists and let them do their job. Simon Ostrovsky should be released immediately.”

According to reports on 22 April Simon Ostrovsky, journalist with Vice News, was captured by unidentified people in uniform in Sloviansk. The detention has been announced by Vyacheslav Ponomarev, self-proclaimed "People's Mayor" of Sloviansk.

On 21 April Maxim Danilchenko, journalist with Tochka Opori magazine, was attacked by unidentified individuals and sustained several injuries while covering a protest in Luhansk. On the same day Dmitriy Galko, journalist with Belarusian Noviy Chas newspaper, and Italian and French journalists Paul Gogo and Kossimo Attanasio were reportedly detained by unidentified individuals in uniform in Sloviansk. They were released shortly after being detained.

 

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on facebook.com/osce.rfom.



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