Russia committed more than 60 crimes against Ukrainian news outlets in 2023


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In 2023, Ukraine witnessed 150 instances of freedom of speech violations, with Russia being accountable for 67, as reported (text in Ukrainian) by the Institute of Mass Information (IMI).


Throughout the year, Russian forces were involved in a range of aggressive actions against the press: murdering and kidnapping journalists, shelling and injuring media personnel, issuing threats, damaging media outlets, engaging in cybercrimes, shutting down Ukrainian broadcasts, exerting legal pressure, and blocking internet access in Ukrainian territories. Additionally, the financial crisis induced by Russia’s full-scale invasion has led to the closure of numerous Ukrainian media outlets.


In 2023, according to the Institute of Mass Information (IMI), Russian forces were responsible for the deaths of 27 media workers in Ukraine, with two fatalities occurring while on duty. Among those killed were:

  • Bohdan Bitik, Ukrainian reporter of Italian newspaper La Repubblica, who died in April 2023 in Kherson under Russian fire.
  • Armand Soldin, a Bosnian-French journalist of the AFP agency, who was killed by Russian shelling near Bakhmut in May.
  • The remaining 25 media workers died as combatants.. The death of one such individual was confirmed in 2023: Vladyslav Dzikovsky, a system administrator for Detector Media, who had been missing since December 2022.


Since the onset of Russia’s full-scale invasion, a total of 70 journalists have been killed in Ukraine, with 10 of these fatalities occurring while they were on assignment.


Based on data from the IMI, at least 12 film crews and journalists have been targeted by Russian fire. Furthermore, last year, Russian shelling resulted in the destruction or damage of eight media outlets. Additionally, there are four known cases in 2023 of journalists being abducted by Russian forces.


In 2023, IMI recorded 83 cases of violations of freedom of speech for which Ukraine was responsible. To compare: IMI recorded a total number of 97 cases of violations of freedom of speech in 2022, 197 violations of freedom of speech in 2021, and 229 — in 2020.


The main categories of violations in 2023, for which Ukrainian citizens are responsible, were:

  • Obstruction of legitimate journalistic activities — 29 cases (32 cases in 2022);
  • Restriction of access to public information — 20 cases (21 in 2022);
  • Cybercrimes and threats — 11 cases for each.


In 2023, the right to perform journalists’ professional activity was most often violated by private individuals, law enforcement, local governments, the judiciary and representatives of the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.


The IMI emphasized that the access of media to cover the hostilities and the liberated territories is extremely important for informing Ukrainian citizens and documenting important historical events.


As reported, in 2023, Ukraine was ranked 79th in the world’s freedom of speech ranking.


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