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.
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.