The International Press Institute (IPI) has documented more than 900 cases of physical attacks, censorship, harassment, arrests, and other press freedom violations in Russia and Ukraine since Putin’s full-scale war of aggression began one year ago.
The vast majority of these attacks have been perpetrated by Russian forces or authorities, underscoring that Putin’s war against Ukraine is also a war against the press.
IPI’s data shows that journalists in Ukraine have suffered most of the physical brutality of this war, while media in Russia have faced severe legal harassment and repression. At least 10 journalists have been killed in Ukraine in the line of duty, while IPI has registered more than 100 other cases of physical attacks and threats to journalists’ safety in Ukraine, with dozens of journalists covering the war coming under Russian fire or shelling. Meanwhile, IPI has documented over 600 media freedom violations in Russia since the war’s start, including 160 cases of arrests and criminal charges brought against journalists, as well as 187 cases in which news sites were blocked for reporting on the war.
Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, IPI has been systematically monitoring media freedom violations and threats to journalists in both countries. Our public database, the IPI Ukraine War Press Freedom Tracker, documents physical and other attacks on journalists covering the war in Ukraine, as well as acts of censorship; arrests and criminal charges against journalists; repressive new media legislation; and restrictions on access to information.
KEY FINDINGS FROM DATA
• 910 cases of violations and threats against journalists and media in Russia and Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion.
• Russian forces or authorities are responsible for 80 percent of these threats. In another 10 percent of cases, the responsible actor is unknown, but this includes cyber-attacks of suspected Russian origin.
• At least 10 journalists have been killed in Ukraine while covering the war.
• 160 arrests and criminal charges brought against journalists in Russia for war-related coverage.
• 187 cases of websites blocked in Russia for publishing news on the war.
• In Ukraine, IPI has documented 300 press freedom threats or violations since the war’s start, most of which are physical, verbal, or online attacks perpetrated by Russian forces.
• This includes over 100 cases of physical attacks and threats to journalists’ safety, with dozens of journalists covering the war coming under threat from Russian fire or shelling.
• More than 30 journalists were wounded in such attacks.
• IPI’s Tracker has documented the deaths of 12 journalists in Ukraine, ten of which are confirmed to have been killed in the line of duty.
• IPI has also recorded close to 30 cases of attacks on Ukrainian media infrastructure, as well as several dozen cyber-attacks on Ukrainian news outlets.
• In Russia, IPI has documented 610 violations since the start of the full-scale invasion. Most of these are acts of censorship and regulation barring media from doing their job or arrests and criminal charges brought against journalists.
• At least 187 cases of news sites blocked for reporting on the war.
• Russian civilian and military authorities have issued at least 121 publication bans, take-down and forced deletion orders, fines, or other administrative penalties against media.
• In at least 160 cases, journalists have been detained, arrested and/or prosecuted by Russian authorities in cases relating to the war. Most of these were arrests of journalists covering protests and demonstrations.
THE WAR’S TOLL ON THE MEDIA
“Our data confirms that in this war of aggression against Ukraine, media are clearly targeted by Russian forces and authorities. Amid a growing list of atrocities and incalculable human suffering, Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine has taken an especially heavy toll on the region’s journalists and independent media”, IPI Executive Director Frane Maroevic said.
“The data we collected on these attacks illustrates the nature, scope, and sheer brutality of Putin’s war against the media in both countries — and the risks that so many journalists face as they continue to report independently on this war. The IPI global network stands by our brave colleagues in Ukraine as well as the Russian independent media community as they seek to report on and document the horrors of Russia’s war for their communities and for all the world to see.”
NOTE TO MEDIA
Visit IPI Ukraine War Press Freedom Tracker to explore the data and view the most updated information. The data cited above reflects the latest information collected by IPI as of February 10.
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