Ukrainian editor injured in assault
IPI urges authorities to hold perpetrators to account, end impunity
By: Steven M. Ellis, IPI Senior Press Freedom Adviser
VIENNA, March 7, 2013 – The International Press Institute (IPI) and its affiliate, the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), today joined calls urging authorities to investigate Tuesday’s beating of a newspaper editor in central Ukraine.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), citing a report from the Kiev-based Institute for Mass Information (IMI), said yesterday that three unidentified men attacked Tarasova Pravda chief editor Taras Chornoivan on Tuesday evening in Vinnytsya. The men reportedly fled without taking any of Chornoivan’s belongings after police were called.
IMI, in an English-language statement posted on its website, quoted Tarasova Pravda as reporting that Chornoivan “was attacked by three stocky men, who knocked him to the ground and began kicking”. The statement indicated that Chornoivan was in intensive care with a possible brain injury, broken ribs and other injuries.
Prosecutors have reportedly opened an investigation into the incident. Local media tentatively linked the attack to a recent Tarasova Pravda article criticising Oleksandr Dombrovskyi, who was elected to parliament in October 2012. Dombrovskyi, however, reportedly denied involvement in the assault.
The article, which CPJ said accused Dombrovskyi of vote rigging, was accompanied by an image in which Dombrovskyi’s head was placed on the body of a toddler sitting on a toilet. IMI included a copy of the image on a Russian-language statement published on its website.
Ukraine’s Supreme Administrative Court last month stripped Dombrovskyi of his seat in parliament, but a number of deputies from the ruling Party of Regions reportedly asked Ukraine’s Constitutional Court to look into the case.
IPI Deputy Director Anthony Mills said: “We urge investigators to conduct a full, swift and transparent investigation into this crime and to hold those responsible to account. Ukraine has for too long been plagued by an environment in which impunity for attacks on journalists remains the norm.”