• Українською
  • Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on World Press Freedom Day
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, posted 03 May 2023 13:00

    The protection of freedom of speech, freedom of opinion and the creation of a favourable environment for journalists have always been integral parts of Ukrainian society.

    These principles were essentially destroyed by russia in the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories after the start of russian aggression in 2014. The full-scale war that russia unleashed against our country in February 2022 was accompanied by even more brutal repression of independent journalism.

    According to the Institute of Mass Information, in the fourteen months since the invasion began, russia has committed more than 500 crimes against journalists and media in Ukraine.

    In one year and two months of full-scale war, the russian invaders have killed more than fifty Ukrainian and foreign journalists, including nine who were killed while carrying out editorial duties in the war zones.

    Dozens of regional editorial offices in the temporarily occupied territories have ceased their work due to russian shelling, threats, destruction of buildings and the impossibility of carrying out impartial journalistic activities.

    The first step of the occupying state in the occupied territories was to isolate them from the Ukrainian information space, cutting off radio and television signals, blocking the work of national Internet operators and mobile communications.

    The russian occupiers also commit murders and persecutions of journalists, searches of editorial offices and actual coercion to stop journalistic work. The list of russian crimes against the media in Ukraine also includes shelling and seizure of TV towers, hacking of information resource websites.

    russia is deliberately isolating the occupied territories from the Ukrainian information space, while broadcasting its propaganda channels discrediting the Ukrainian state and the Defence Forces.

    The situation of freedom of speech in the temporarily occupied Crimea is catastrophic. Almost every month, illegal sentences are handed down to Crimean Tatars imprisoned in russia and on the occupied Crimean peninsula, including civilian journalists. This phenomenon arose at the beginning of the illegal occupation of Crimea, when ordinary people began to bring to light the facts of political persecution of Ukrainian citizens and became the object of repression by the russian occupation administration. At present, 15 Ukrainian civilian journalists are imprisoned on trumped-up charges by the russians.

    Ukraine, together with its international partners, is taking steps to counter russian propaganda and disinformation. These efforts are primarily aimed at stopping the broadcast of russian propaganda resources abroad and expanding sanctions against russian media and their owners.

    We call on the international community to increase pressure on russia for killing, torturing and persecuting journalists and suppressing the development of a free and safe environment for the media in the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories.

    The media of the aggressor state must be deprived of the right to spread lies about the war waged by russia, to hide the consequences of attacks on Ukrainian territory, to justify the deaths of civilians and the deliberate destruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure and cultural sites.

    We also thank all Ukrainian and international journalists who work in the war zones every day, risking their lives to report the truth about the war crimes committed by the russian federation in Ukraine. No crime against members of the media should go uninvestigated and the perpetrators should be justly punished.