Update from Dec. 2: Ukraine revokes restrictions for journalists working at frontline

The military claimed the new measure was imposed after the intelligence reported about “hunt” opened by separatists for Ukrainian journalists.

Dmytrashkivsky told the Kyiv Post by phone on Dec. 2 that the army just wanted to make the work of journalists, who report from Ukrainian side of frontline, safer. But as the journalists didn’t like the new measure he proposed his commanders to lift it.

“We just wanted to protect you, but it’s up to you if you don’t care about your safety,” Dmytrashkivsky said.

The statement said the new measure was taken in order to protect journalists and that intelligence indicated Russian-backed separatists were “hunting” Ukrainian journalists. The new restrictions, however, also apply to foreign journalists.


The restriction were immediately condemned by journalists, who said it will hinder their work and endanger them.

Media rights groups have called the new regulation an illegal attempt
to silence journalists.

Army spokesman Oleksiy Dmytrashkivsky told the Kyiv Post that the new
rules apply to all journalists working on the Ukrainian side of the conflict. For
those traveling to separatists-controlled areas, military escort will be provided up to the final Ukrainian checkpoint, he added.

“I received an order to guide journalists and to stop them from traveling alone,” Dmytrashkivsky said.

According to him, journalists must now send requests asking to be included in specially organized media groups traveling to the front. Requests may be made to [email protected].

Dmytrashkivsky said special military
press officers will begin the work in the near future, guiding journalists in the conflict zone.

“You should report your destination
and the press officers will meet you there,” he said.

Oksana Romaniuk, head of Institute of Mass Information, a Ukrainian media watchdog, said the new regulation was imposed not to protect journalists but to restrict
media access to information.


“We know that no journalists have been taken hostage over
the past month,” she wrote at her Facebook page. “If you (the military) want to
censor information about war so people don’t know the truth, then just admit it.”

Media lawyer Tetiana Katiuzhynska said the regulation contradicts Ukrainian law.

“No one is allowed to restrict journalists movements even
during wartime,” she said.

Dmytrashkivsky claimed that the new restrictions were also imposed to protect Ukrainian forces because journalists have repeatedly endangered soldiers by publishing information about the positions of Ukrainian

“Even (separatist soldiers) that we captured told us that they aimed (at our
positions) based on the TV reports. People died!” he said.

Kyiv Post staff writer
Oksana Grytsenko can be reached at [email protected]

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