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International journalist federations call for probe into detainment of Ukrainian journalists in Poland

by Dmytro Basmat March 15, 2024 3:20 AM 2 min read
A sign points to the border between Poland and Belarus; in the background is a vehicle belonging to the Polish border guards. (Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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The International and the European Federations of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) urged Polish authorities to investigate after two separate instances of Ukrainian journalists being detained in Poland were reported in recent weeks.

The IFJ-EFJ issued a joint statement on March 14, detailing what is called "serious attacks on journalists," after Ukrainian journalists from Ukrainska Pravda and Rayon.in.ua were detained and deported from Poland while investigating trade operations.

On March 7, Rayon.in.ua editor Yurii Konkevych and cameraman Oleksandr Pyliuk were detained by Polish police at the border with Russia's Kaliningrad enclave while investigating trade with Russia. They were later deported back to Ukraine and banned from entering Schengen zone countries for five years.

Rayon.in.ua said that their journalists were investigating the scale of trade on the Russian-Polish border and whether Russian or Polish transport vehicles are used for crossing. After detainment and questioning, Polish authorities deleted the journalist's photos and videos during the detention.

Ukrainska Pravda journalist Mykhailo Tkach and his cameraman Yaroslav Bondarenko were detained on Feb. 27 by Polish police while reporting on the shipments of Russian goods to Poland via Belarus.

While being investigated, authorities allegedly denied the Ukrainska Pravda journalists' request to contact the Ukrainian consulate, editorial staff, or relatives.

"The IFJ and the EFJ are alarmed by such persistent obstruction of the work of Ukrainian journalists in Poland that poses serious threats to the safety of journalists and the press freedom itself," the joint statement reads.

The IFJ-EFJ called on Polish authorities to conduct an independent investigation into the "deliberate obstruction" of journalistic activities through their detainment. The IFJ-EFJ is also asking Poland to reconsider the deportation of Yurii Konkevych and Oleksandr Pyliuk.

Media: Ukrainian journalists deported from Poland after investigating trade with Russia
Two journalists of the Rayon.ua.in news outlet were detained in Poland and deported while reporting on a trade on the Russian-Polish border, the news outlet said on March 13.
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