Freedom House, FREEDOM IN THE WORLD 2015, Crimea:
We bring to your attention personal stories of journalists who were forced to flee from occupied peninsular and seek for safe heavens away from home for being faithful in the performance of their duty.
Serhii Mocrushyn. Investigative journalist
In June 2014, Serhii was beaten by so-called “self-defence forces of Crimea”. In March 2015, following multiple searches in the journalists apartments conducted by the FSB (Federal Security Service of Russia), he decided to leave home and move to Kyiv hoping for a better future.
“Immediately after the Crimea occupation, Russia began to mop up the information field. Editorial offices of many Crimean media had to leave and move elsewhere. In the Crimea, there are very few independent media left, and they have fewer and fewer opportunities to work. All Ukrainian channels are blocked, there is no Ukrainian press in Crimea. The Crimean Tatar TV channels and radio stations had been last standing until they were closed earlier this year. There are only compliant to the occupation authorities media resources left”– Mokrushyn describes situation with freedom of speech in the Crimea.
Here you can watch Serhii Mocrushyn speaking at the Conference on Journalists’ Safety, Media Freedom and Pluralism in Times of Conflict, 15–16 June 2015, in Vienna, Austria.
And here you can see an attempt of Ukrainian journalists to get out the message that freedom of speech really matters to Konstantin Dolgov, Russian MFA Human Rights Ombudsman.
Valentina Samar. Chief editor of the “Journalistic investigations Center”
In March 2014, so-called “self-defence” captured the “Journalistic investigations Center” office in Simferopol, where Ms. Samar was chief editor. Few months later, she had to leave the peninsula.
“Ukrainian and foreign journalists served as UN blue helmets in the Crimea in February and March of 2014. They stood between unarmed Ukrainian military and armed Russian Special Forces. The very few honest journalists, who work in the Crimea today, are risking their health and freedom every single day. It is necessary to ensure permanent presence of international observers in the Crimea. It could be the UN Permanent Mission on human rights or the OSCE mission. The international community should have full access to information about the human rights situation on the peninsula in order to make decisions.”
Tetiana Ryhtun. Investigative journalist. She had lived in the Crimea for 30 years
On March 3, 2014, Tatiana was filming Ukrainian navy headquarters siege when she was hit from the back on the head, and she had her video camera stolen. On March 9, after the rally dedicated to the Taras Shevchenko’s 200th anniversary, she was attacked at her home entrance for filming the event. Tatiana was evacuated from the Crimea with the help of the international security firm. She now works in Kiev.
“I had to leave Sevastopol because there was a real threat to my life, because we honestly covered the occupation from the very beginning. In Sevastopol, other local media pretended that there was no occupation, simply not noticing people with weapons. We were the only local newspaper to write about the Ukrainian military units and airports sieges, about the checkpoints on the roads, we published photos and traveled to “hot spots”.
Anna Andrievskaya. News editor
Anna is subject to the criminal investigation of the FSB (calls for the violation of territorial integrity) for her article about volunteers helping Ukrainian soldiers from Crimea in the ATO-area. During the FSB searches in the journalists apartments, the home of Anna’s parent in Simferopol was also checked.
“I know that there are the FSB “black lists” of persons, who are silently banned from entering the peninsula; the people on the list will be detained if they are to move around the territory of Crimea. I was not sure before if I was included in these lists, but after the opening of a criminal case, I am forbidden to go back home.”