Dozens of journalists injured in Kiev during protests, five people killed

KyivPost | The New York Times | CPJ

Reporters work during clashes between protesters and police in Kiev, Ukraine, on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

This AP photo made its way across Twitter Wednesday, showing journalists covering protests in Kiev. One, as you can see, wears a colander to protect his head instead of a helmet. Helmets, you see, were banned by the government.

It's a moment that might seem silly, if seen out of context from clashes that have so far killed five. But journalists, like protesters, have been beaten and arrested.

BuzzFeed reporter Max Seddon shared this Instagram picture Thursday of Russian journalist Andrei Kiselev after an encounter with Ukrainian police.

Also on Thursday, KyivPost reported that, after five people were killed Wednesday, a standoff was still in place.

Journalists covering the scene continued to be under attack from police. Kyiv Post editor Mark Rachkevych said he was fired on by a police officer using rubber bullets that missed him.

Another journalist providing live video of the conflict for Espreso TV was assaulted and kidnapped on Jan. 22 before being released. More than two dozen journalists have been assaulted, mostly by police, while covering the events.

On Wednesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported that dozens of journalists have been beaten and had their equipment damaged while covering the protests.

"Journalists in Ukraine are under attack in the street and in Parliament," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "We deplore the assaults on reporters covering the protests in Kiev and call on the security forces to respect the right of journalists to work in safety. We also urge the government to repeal the laws, which give Ukraine some of the most repressive media legislation in Europe."

Also on Wednesday, Heather Murphy wrote in the New York Times about a strange text message that made its way onto the phones of people near the protests, including reporters.

As my colleague Andrew Kramer reported, protesters and journalists standing in the vicinity of fighting between the riot police and demonstrators in Kiev on Tuesday received an ominous text message on their phones: “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

And on Wednesday evening, the Times' Robert Mackey pulled together striking videos shot by journalists covering the protests, including this one, from Polish journalist Pawel Bobolowicz.

On Wednesday, Poynter wrote about two journalists from Radio Free Europe who were beaten and detained by police. CPJ reports that this is the second round of abuse journalists have faced since protests began in November of last year.

In early December, at least 51 journalists were targeted and beaten by the riot police. Facing domestic and international outcry, authorities announced in December that they had opened investigation into the attacks. No progress has been reported.

For resources on covering social protest movements, Poynter's NewsU created this in 2012. They also offer a webinar on trauma awareness and a self-directed course on journalism and trauma.


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