IPI: Over 900 Attacks on Media in Ukraine and Russia Have Taken Place Since the Outbreak of the War

The International Press Institute (IPI) has documented over 900 cases of physical attacks, censorship, harassment, arrests, and other violations of freedom of the press in Russia and Ukraine since the outbreak of the full-scale war of aggression in the neighboring state a year ago. The vast majority of such attacks were committed by the Russian forces or authorities, according to the IPI press release published on February 15.

The IPI report reveals that 300 threats or violations of freedom of the press have been documented in Ukraine since the outbreak of the war, most of which are physical, verbal, or online attacks committed by the Russian forces. These include over 100 cases of physical attacks and threats to journalists’ safety; besides, more than 30 journalists have been injured as a result of such attacks.  The IPI’s monitoring system registered the deaths of 12 journalists in Ukraine, ten of whom were killed while fulfilling their duty. The IPI has also recorded almost 30 cases of attacks on the Ukrainian media infrastructure, as well as several dozen cyber attacks against the Ukrainian news agencies.

On the other hand, the report reveals that, in Russia, a double increase in the number of breaches has been recorded since the beginning of the large-scale invasion – they are 610 in number. These are mostly acts of censorship or regulations imposing restrictions on the activity of the media, arrests, and criminal charges against journalists. At least 187 cases of blocking news websites covering the war have been recorded. The Russian civil and military authorities have issued at least 121 publication prohibitions, orders for removal and forced deletion of journalistic materials, fines, or other administrative sanctions against the media. Besides, in at least 160 cases, journalists were detained, arrested, and/or prosecuted by the Russian authorities. Most of these cases are arrests of journalists who covered protests and demonstrations.

“Our data confirms that in this war of aggression against Ukraine, media are clearly targeted by Russian forces and authorities. Amid a growing list of atrocities and incalculable human suffering, Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine has taken an especially heavy toll on the region’s journalists and independent media,” IPI Executive Director Frane Maroevic affirms.

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