The Ukrainian secret services are formal: “Using the media, the traitor supported the actions of the aggressor country. » The intelligence agency of the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) goes further: “This propaganda has been successfully used by the Russian media. » This is why Gleb Liachenko, a 33-year-old blogger regularly invited to television sets, was placed in preventive detention for two months, Thursday March 31, in Lviv, in the west of the country.
Releasable on bail of 4 million hryvnias (€122,000), he faces between ten and fifteen years in prison. Already on Wednesday, a user of the TikTok social network was accused of denying Russia’s armed aggression.
In the age of suspicion
How far does freedom of expression go in Ukraine? It was undeniably framed by martial law, the war raging including on the information front. The tone has notably hardened since the Ukrainian parliament adopted a law a week ago punishing collaboration with Russian forces. Since March 26, the possibility of broadcasting images of military movements and strikes on Ukrainian soil has been drastically restricted, which does not facilitate the work of journalists. CNN or the BBC could even be accused of serving as“fitter” and “to help the Russian artillery to adjust its fire”, after filming an attack in Lviv.
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According to Amnesty International’s 2021 report, the press in Ukraine was “globally free and pluralistic” before the Russian invasion. Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the kyiv authorities have even adopted a reform guaranteeing transparency on media ownership.
On the other hand, things could get complicated when relations with Moscow were discussed. “Some media outlets have been targeted by the authorities for their perceived pro-Russian editorial policy, and accused by Ukraine’s Security Service of waging an ‘information war’ against Ukraine,” notify the organization. Reporters Without Borders, which ranks the country 97and rank in the World Press Freedom Index, refers to “a deleterious climate: banning Russian media and social networks, cyberbullying, trial for “high treason””.
The information in question
Some voices are beginning to rise against the working conditions of journalists in the specific context of war. Since March 28, the Ukrainian NGO IMI (Institute of Mass Information), which also collects Russian crimes against the media in Ukraine, has launched a petition asking President Volodymyr Zelensky and the army to “put an end to the harassment of journalists, who are Ukraine’s greatest allies”.
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According to the document co-authored with several editors, “Due to systematic unsubstantiated statements issued by officials and official structures, society began to see betrayal and ‘firing adjustment’ in the work of all journalists without exception. » The signatories demand the establishment of a dialogue, including with “qualified technical specialists” for “establish transparent rules for the work of journalists”.