Ukrainian Journalist from Independent Outlet Attacked
In response to masked men in the eastern city of Zaporizhzhya assaulting Anatoliy Ostapenko, a journalist affiliated with the independent media outlet Hromadske Zaporizhzhya, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Authorities should urgently investigate the attack on Anatoliy Ostapenko, the latest assault on the free, independent press in Ukraine,” said Daniel Calingaert, executive vice president. “A growing number of journalists throughout the country are being targeted by violence, in some cases in retaliation for their investigations into government corruption. Without a genuinely free press, authorities cannot keep their promises for reform.”
Hromadske Zaporizhzhya, a partner of Freedom House, reported that Ostapenko was working on several investigations linking local authorities in Zaporizhzhya to corruption.
In 2015, there were 39 registered cases in which journalists were violently attacked, up from 35 in 2013, according to data from the Institute of Mass Information, a second Freedom House partner. Earlier this month, three journalists from the local news platform Channel 7 were attacked in Odesa. Four attacks occurred in April against journalists and media offices in Kyiv and Sumy. These cases do not included incidents of intimidation and harassment facing independent journalists in Crimea and Donbas, where press freedom has been severely restricted.
Ukraine is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2015, and receives a democracy score of 4.68 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2016.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.