Ukraine Crisis Media Center releases statement against the pressure on Ukrainian and international journalists

We, the team of Ukraine Crisis Media Center (UCMC), are indignant about the actions of Advisor to the Interior Minister of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko and “Myrotvorets” web site that released and put in open access contact phone numbers and email addresses of all Ukrainian and international journalists who received accreditation to the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) in 2014-2016.

The list has allegedly got to Gerashchenko and “Myrotvorets” web site as a result of the hacker attack on the “DPR” information data base. “Myrotvorets” web site justifies release of the contact details with the fact that in their opinion these international journalists present on the list are cooperating with militants of the terrorist organization.

Ukrainian and international journalists from renowned European, U.S. and other media outlets got under attack. UCMC cooperated with many of them. Many of them were providing objective coverage of events and in particular of the situation on occupied territories in international media often risking their lives.

Ukrainian journalists have already released a statement in which they condemn the actions of Gerashchenko and of “Myrotvorets” web site. The letter was signed by some international journalists as well.

UCMC team has been helping international journalists in their work in Ukraine since March 2014 on entire territory of Ukraine as well as in the ATO zone. We are assisting the media representatives in preparation of the application to get the ATO press card as well as a pass to cross the line of contact.

We are convinced that it is the objective and unbiased coverage of events in eastern Ukraine by international journalists that is the best tool to combat the Russian propaganda.

We understand that the work of international journalists in the self-proclaimed “DPR” and “LPR” are crucial to get the international attention to the war in eastern Ukraine as well as to produce the materials that are highly trusted by the audience around the globe.

We realize that with the conflict escalation access to the occupied territories for Ukrainian media was considerably restricted. In this uneasy situation these are the western journalists that being a party outside the conflict often had higher chances to get to the occupied territories and present what is going on there. UCMC has been always providing them with maximum support possible.

We are of the opinion that Ukraine’s citizens residing in the occupied territories of the self-proclaimed “DPR” and “LPR” have the right to be present in the media space, the right to adequate coverage of their problems in particular humanitarian and social ones.

We realize that it is the ignorance and lack of will to get to know what the life of people across the contact line is splits the Ukrainian society and unjustly de-humanizes those people, diving Ukrainians into “friends” and “foes”.

We are convinced that presence of international journalists on occupied territories as well as international humanitarian NGOs and monitoring missions is a guarantee to reinforced security of citizens in the face of armed persons.

We are aware that accreditation of Ukrainian and international journalists at “DPR” and “LPR” are a necessary condition for safe journalist work on the territory of self-proclaimed republics and by no means can be considered “collaboration” with terrorists.

We are convinced that accreditation to “DPR” for journalists of international media outlets does not violate Ukraine’s legislation and is not a threat to Ukraine’s state security.

We are aware that the fact of accreditation to the “DPR” and “LPR” for foreign journalists does not influence the editorial policy of international media outlets and does not lead toincrease in number of “anti-Ukrainian” materials.

Instead we consider that rendering public private addresses and phone numbers of journalists by “Myrotvorets” web site is a crime. It also puts the journalists in question under additional security threat on the part of radicalized members of Ukrainian society.

The list made public creates obstacles for the journalists to exercise their rights to conduct professional activities.

It contradicts the principle of freedom of press in the combat action zone and in occupied territories.

UCMC calls upon Anton Gerashchenko and administrators of the web site “Myrotvorets” to immediately put down from open access the data of international and Ukrainian journalists.

UCMC team