The Global Investigative Journalism Network joins OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović in calling for the immediate release of Natalya Kokorina, an editor with GIJN member Crimean Centre for Investigative Journalism. Ms. Kokorina was detained today by authorities in Crimea.
We have several reports on Ukraine today. First, some good news: GIJN’s member in Crimea, the Crimean Center for Investigative Journalism, is back in its office after vigilantes seized it on March 2. Spurred by the attack, GIJN worked with the Internet Archive to back up its site, and now we’ve helped preserve seven more independent media sites in Ukraine. And then the bad news: attacks continue on the media there, chronicled in a harrowing list of incidents compiled by the Crimean Center.
As Russian troops streamed into Crimea, Ukraine, yesterday, masked gunmen broke into and seized the office of the Crimean Center for Investigative Journalism in the region’s capital, Simferopol. The group of about 30 men, dressed in military fatigues, targeted offices housing the Information and Press Center, a hub for independent media in the region, and the Crimean investigative center. After breaking a window and forcing their way through the front door, militia leader Konstantin Knyrik announced that the offices would now house representatives of “The Crimean Front,” because from “this building does not come true information.” “We do not need to escalate this,” Knyrik told the journalists, according to the Crimean investigative center’s website. “All employees can come to work. We promise them, if their sponsors refuse to pay the salary, we will find them entrepreneurs.