Media Community and NGOs’ statement in unacceptability of pressure on journalist Liubov Velychko

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We the NGOs and the media community as well as members of the Mediarukh (Media Movement) are concerned by the reports of the pressure, death threats and online-bullying of the journalist Liubov Velychko. 

On July 13, Velychko’s investigation “Telega” for “Servant”. How Telegram channels suspected of being run from Russia impact the Parliament’s work” was published. The journalist analyzed 10 thousand messages in Telegram channels “Temny Rytsar” (Dark Knight), “Max Buzhansky”,, “Legitimate” and “Resident” and came to a conclusion these last two ones may be run from the territory of Russia.

After this publication about a number of Telegram channels and their potential impact on the key officials in the bodies of state power, the journalist began to receive threats in social networks, including death threats and bullying from certain political groups. 

On July 29, journalist Liubov Velychko filed to the Brovary police department a complaint about the death threats and interference with her professional activities.

We demand that the law enforcement agencies conduct an immediate and effective investigation of these threats and pressure on the journalist.

We in no uncertain terms condemn the harassment and bullying of both male and female journalists over their professional activities in Ukraine. Unfortunately, such cases are many and the failure to investigate previous such cases only exacerbates the feeling of impunity and menace. Such an environment steers the journalists towards silencing certain topics, which is unacceptable in an open democratic society the citizenry of Ukraine deserves. 

The journalist materials and investigations on the topics of violation of human rights, the hostilities in the East of Ukraine, the occupation of Crimea, on corruption or a suspicious influence over politicians and public servants constitute a special public interest. Coverage of such topics can under no circumstances become a ground for persecution, harassment, pressure or death threats. 

In Liubov Velychko’s case, law enforcement agencies have another chance to show their capacity to effectively and timely investigate crimes committed against journalists in Ukraine. Death threats should be dealt with extreme gravity, so we are expecting results.