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Authorities launch criminal investigation of threatening visit to journalist Nikolov

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 19, 2024 5:52 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian journalist Yurii Nikolov (Facebook)
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Authorities opened criminal proceedings regarding the threatening visit by unknown men to the home of investigative journalist Yurii Nikolov, the Prosecutor General's Office said on Jan. 19.

Although the announcement did not mention Nikolov by name, facts of the case make it clear that it is related to him.

Nikolov, known for articles exposing corruption in Ukraine's military procurement, said that at least two men came to his apartment late on Jan. 14, aggressively banging on his door and verbally attacking him.

Nikolov added that only his elderly mother was at home at the moment of the visit. According to the journalist, just fifteen minutes later, a post with footage from the scene appeared on the anonymous Telegram channel Kartochnyy Ofis, allegedly linked to the Presidential Office.

The Prosecutor General's Office said that the case is investigated as obstructing journalistic work. The penalty for the crime ranges from a fine to four years in prison.

"Currently, law enforcement agencies are taking measures to indentify the people involved," the prosecutors said.

Soon after Nikolov made his case public, another scandal arose around the investigative outlet Bihus.Info. An obscure website posing as a news organization, Narodna Pravda, published camera recordings and private calls of Bihus.Info staff members, capturing them purchasing and using drugs during a private New Year's party.

The investigative outlet subsequently said that unknown men installed hidden cameras in the complex where the party took place and that Bihus.Info's editorial office had been wiretapped for about a year.

More recently, on Jan. 19, Odesa journalist and blogger Iryna Hryb said on her Facebook profile that she had discovered a listening device in her car.

These cases sparked outrage among Ukraine's journalistic community, which condemned it as pressure against free media. President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Jan. 17 that "any pressure on journalists is unacceptable."

Ukraine's parliamentary committee on freedom of speech appealed to the authorities to investigative both Nikolov's and Bihus.Info's cases.  

Recent campaigns against journalists raise concerns about press freedom in Ukraine
Investigative journalists in Ukraine came under two attacks in just the past week, one involving a threatening home visit and another using covert surveillance. The two incidents are the latest in a series of discrediting campaigns against independent Ukrainian media, often supported by anonymous p…
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