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Official: Over 25 Ukrainian journalists remain in Russian captivity

by Dinara Khalilova January 11, 2024 4:18 PM 2 min read
Photo for illustrative purposes. A member of a rifle company that holds the line in the Zaporizhzhia direction, call sign Alfa (L) speaks with the journalists, in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, southeastern Ukraine, on Sept. 11, 2022. (Dmytro Smoliyenko / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Over 25 Ukrainian journalists remain in Russian captivity, Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, the newly appointed head of the Ukrainian parliament's Committee on Freedom of Speech, said in an online event on Jan. 10.

"These are not combatants, these are journalists who were doing their job, and according to the civilized rules of warfare, should not have been captured in principle, but the fact is the fact. We understand how uncivilized Russia has trampled on any human rights," Yurchyshyn said.

According to Yurchyshyn, one of his committee's priorities is the protection of journalists' rights, including facilitating the release of the journalists held in Russian captivity.

For that, he said it is necessary to involve the international community and "to prepare, together with monitoring organizations and journalist associations, a component on responsibility in the International Criminal Court for crimes against freedom of speech and against journalists."

Yurchyshyn added that "unfortunately, it is not only Russia that interferes in the work of journalists."

Ukraine saw a drop in the investigation of crimes against journalists by almost 80% in 2022 compared to the previous year, according to the official.

"One might blame everything on the war, but we, as a country joining the European community, for which the value of freedom of speech is one of the main values, should definitely not allow this."

Yurchyshyn said his committee had discussed the cases of obstructing journalists' work in Ukraine with the Interior Ministry and would have talks with the National Police and the General Prosecutor's Office.

As of Nov. 2 last year, 75 media workers in Ukraine have been killed since the beginning of Russia's war against Ukraine in 2014, according to a study by the Institute of Mass Information.

Opinion: In remembrance of a great mind who survived Russian captivity
Ihor Kozlovskyi (1954-2023) was a renowned Ukrainian writer, scholar, and theologian from Donetsk Oblast. He was captured by Russian proxies in occupied Donetsk in 2016 for his pro-Ukrainian views and subsequently subjected to torture for nearly two years in Russian captivity. He was released in Dec…
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