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CJE statement on the threats against investigative journalists Yurii Nikolov and Denys Bihus

Commission for Journalistic Ethics

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The Commission on Journalistic Ethics is outraged by the cases of pressure on Ukrainian investigative journalists and believes it is a dangerous threat to democracy and Ukraine’s future.

Wiretapping, covert filming, unrequited visits at the place of residence, harassment on social media, and accusations of alleged violations of the law — we consider this all to be intimidation of investigative journalists and their teams.

The recent attacks on Yurii Nikolov and Denys Bihus look like carefully prepared campaigns to discredit media workers in the eyes of the public. The purpose of such attacks is to destroy the reputation of well-known journalists and provoke distrust to journalistic investigations in Ukraine. Interference in media workers’ private lives may lead to the disclosure of their confidential sources.

This may pose a threat to sources and will make it difficult for all journalists to research information in the future. Investigative journalism in Ukraine plays a significant role in the conditions of martial law, with closed registers and limited opportunities for society to control the authorities’ actions.

The Commission on Journalistic Ethics considers it inadmissible to force journalists into self-censorship and giving up controversial subjects due to threats and pressure. Only bringing the guilty to real liability can stop the shameful campaign of intimidation of journalists and devaluing their work.

The Commission on Journalistic Ethics considers it necessary to remind that the President of Ukraine is the guarantor of observance of Ukrainian citizens’ constitutional rights, and therefore requests that he demonstrate the ability to defend democracy and freedom of speech.

We call on law enforcement agencies, in particular the Security Service of Ukraine, the Prosecutor General's Office, the National Police of Ukraine, to comprehensively and impartially investigate the indicated cases of pressure.

Given the serious threats to democracy and parliamentarism in Ukraine, we call on the parliament to independently supervise the investigation of attacks against journalists.

Such crimes should not go unpunished.

Read the statement in Ukrainian