On the night of September 18, 2010, in Donetsk, several police officers beat and then detained at the regional police office the editor of the news website “Protest” Artem Furmaniuk. He does not rule out that his beating was a planned provocation, which could be related to his critical articles about poor work of the law-enforcement authorities in Donetsk region, reported the “Novosti” website.
According to the Director for Political and Legal Programmes of Razumkov Centre Yurij Yakymenko, in Ukraine can we talk about numerous negative moments in relations between the government and the media which explains high attention on the instances of attacks on journalists. “The attention to the issue of freedom of speech and the freedom of journalist activity has recently increased. This problem is in the public eye since the Gongadze case, because the society reacted in a sensitive way towards it. I don’t want to say that there is such a trend, but there were already several cases of pressure on journalists or, even more extreme cases, such as the disappearance of a journalist in Kharkiv”, said Mr. Yakymenko.
The expert stressed that the relations between the government and the media have deteriorated after the change of the President. However, he believes that this was not due to the deliberate policies implemented by the government in the area. “The president always expresses his commitment to the principles of the freedom of speech and talks about the creation of public television. He pays attention to this matter, but there exist an overall impact of a political regime, and the nature of relations between the government and the society. If the enforcement agencies started overusing their power in relations with ordinary citizens, that is evidenced by restrictions on opposition activity, then these methods can be transferred on their relations with journalists”.
“Law-enforcement agencies feel impunity, thinking they act in a righteous way in favour of the government, when the higher authorities might only suffer from this, on the international arena, in particular, it has caused many concerns”, says Mr. Yakymenko.