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UKRAINE : MEDIA SAFETY ADVISORY

29 July 2014

This media advisory follows reports of several journalists who have been detained in Russia and eastern Ukraine in recent weeks.. At the same time, Ukrainian journalists are said to have been denied access to Eastern Ukraine by pro-Moscow rebels in Donetsk and Lugansk.

They include Yevgeny Agarkov, a reporter for Ukrainian channel 2+2, who was arrested by Russian immigration officials near Voronezh, in southwestern Russia, for not being accredited with the Russian foreign ministry.

British journalist Graham Philips, who works for the RT News Station in Russia, was detained by Ukrainian military at Donetsk airport while reporting on the fighting, along with a cameraman for Russia’s ANNA news agency. They were both subsequently released.

Freelance journalist and CNN contributor Anton Skiba, was also briefly held by pro-Russia separatists before being released.

The recent crash of Malaysian Airlines MH17.has added to media interest in the region as journalists seek to report from the crash’s site. All sides to the conflicts seem to have upped the stakes for access to the area and there have also been reports of intimidation, violence and denial of access by rebels against Ukrainian journalists.

However, International correspondents are reportedly allowed access to areas under the control of both sides, provided they obtain the required accreditation.

In the meantime, Ukraine has adopted new measures at entry-exit points in the east of the country for foreign nationals. They are now required to obtain special permission to leave or enter at the control points of entry and exit with the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol.

The International Federation of Journalists has issued this media advisory, urging journalists and media staff who travel to Eastern Ukraine to exercise greater care for their safety.
It offers important tips to assist journalists in the following ways, including:

1. Preparing your trip:

• Access: The Ukrainian government has announced what it described as ‘ anti-terror ‘ military operations in the east of the country. Some parts are considered’ no access’ zones for media. Moreover, some towns in the east are surrounded by both government and separatist groups and access will be limited and difficult.
Journalists need to work out in advance areas they wish to visit and how to reach them.
Consider carrying protective gear and medical kit , at least first aid, in case of riots and illness.
2. Media Accreditation

• The Issuing authority: Some journalists have had to request permission to work from pro- Russia groups in eastern Ukraine.
Journalists should find out the accrediting authority in areas which they wish to cover.

3. At the Scene

• Ensure Visibility: Always carry press identification but conceal it if it attracts unwelcome attention. In tense situations, keep a low profile and consider leaving the area when under threat.

4. On Site Reporting

• Avoid reporting close to angry crowds: People may react angrily to a story such as the result (final or projection) of the vote, raising the risks to the journalist’ safety.
Always consider sending a live report on sensitive story from a secure distance or area.


5. In Case of Arrest

Avoid confrontation: Always pay attention to the behavior and mood of those making the arrest before engaging them in a discussion.
In any case, remain polite at all times, state that you are a journalist and keep your credentials with you.
For more on IFJ Safety Guidelines, please visit http://ifj-safety.org/en/contents/international-code-of-practice-for-the-safe-conduct-of-journalism

6. Emergency Contacts

Journalists working in Ukraine and needing urgent assistance are encouraged to contact:
• The International Committee of the Red Cross

24-hour Hotline on +41 79 217 32 84; or +41 79 217 32 85

Email: press@icrc.org

Hotline website:http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/publication/p0394.htm

• All-Ukraine Trade Union "Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU)

Executive Secretary, Oksana Vynnychuk, on +38 50 356 57 58, or at vynnychuk@ukr.net

• National Union of Journalists of Ukraine – NUJU

Executive Secretary, Oksana Vynnychuk, on +38 50 356 57 58, or atvynnychuk@ukr.net

• The Russia Union of Journalists (RUJ)

Secretary, Pavel Gutiontov, on +7 916 903 0787, or atgutiontov@mail.ru

International Secretary, Nadia Azhgikhina, on +7 916 212 43 07, or at azh@ruj.ru

7. IFJ International Safety Fund

• If you are a journalist in need of financial assistance for immediate medical, legal or security expenses, you can apply for the IFJ Safety Fund. The Safety Fund was set up to provide a lifeline to colleagues around the world who experience violence, threats and injury as a result of the work they do, ensuring help is at hand when most needed.

To apply, please visit the IFJ Safety Website on http://ifj-safety.org/en/contents/ifj-international-safety-fund or contact Ernest Sagaga, IFJ Head of Human Rights & Safety, on 0032 2 235 2207.