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The IPI Documents over 350 Attacks on Freedom of the Press since the Start of the War in Ukraine

The International Press Institute (IPI) has registered more than 350 attacks against journalists, censorship, and other serious breaches of freedom of the press since the start of the war in Ukraine, according to the data published on the eve of World Press Freedom Day celebrated on May 3.

The data from the “Media freedom alerts linked to Russia-Ukraine war” tracker demonstrates “the devastating impact of the conflict on independent journalism, freedom of the press, and safety of journalists in both countries [which are parts of the conflict – editor’s note].”

According to the source, by the time the information was published, seven journalists and media staff members had been killed in Ukraine while practicing their professional duties. At least two other journalists were reportedly killed by Russian armed forces in the territories controlled by the Russian armed forces.

The IPI has also documented 33 serious cases when local or foreign journalists covering events on the Ukrainian front line were attacked, shot, or bombed; many of them were seriously injured and hospitalized. This number also includes 21 journalists injured during shootings or bombings and at least 12 film crew members who were wounded or found themselves under fire.

The organization also reports that at least five journalists were abducted, beaten, tortured, or subjected to other human rights violations by the Russian military. Besides, dozens of regional media outlets were forced to cease their activity due to being threatened. The IPI has registered four confirmed attacks on TV towers in Ukraine.

The IPI considers that, in general, Russian authorities and military forces are responsible for 76% of all the breaches of media freedom related to the conflict and documented by the organization in the last three months.


The media organization mentions that, in Russia, the authorities have taken steps “to eliminate all the independent sources of information and news,” and the Roskomnadzor regulating authority blocked at least 114 media outlets and news websites, which, according to the IPI calculations, accounts for 32% of all the registered breaches.

At least 10 important broadcasters or publications, including Novaya Gazeta, Echo of Moscow, and Dozhd TV channel, were shut down or forced to cease their activity.

The IPI registered 49 incidents when media representatives were detained while reporting on anti-war protests in several cities across the country over the past three months. Some of them were arrested in spite of having journalistic credentials, the organization affirms.

It is known that at least 11 journalists have been fined or detained under the new law on criminal liability for spreading “fake” news about the armed forces’ activities up to date. It is reported that hundreds of Russian journalists left the country to avoid criminal prosecution.

In addition, the IPI also mentions dozens of foreign media outlets forced to close their offices and withdraw their correspondents from Russia, which “has contributed to ceasing unbiased coverage, leaving citizens even more isolated and vulnerable to pro-Kremlin propaganda.”

“The statistics demonstrate the devastating impact this war has already had on journalists’ lives and the extent of human rights violations and attacks on freedom of the press,” Barbara Trionfi, IPI Executive Director, mentioned.

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