Ukrainian TV reporter jailed covering anti-G8 rally

New York, July 17, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the jailing of a Ukrainian television reporter who attempted to cover a demonstration against the Group of Eight (G8) meeting of industrialized nations in St. Petersburg.

Maksym Butkevych of the Kyiv-based television channel 1+1, was arrested yesterday while filming police breaking up a rally by about 50 protesters, the Ukrainian news agency Glavred reported. A St. Petersburg court sentenced him today to three days in prison for “resisting police,” a charge Butkevych denies.

The Associated Press reported that 37 demonstrators and journalists were detained at the demonstration. It quoted police Sgt. Dmitry Barkov as saying police were ordered to detain any journalist covering unsanctioned rallies.

“This arrest seems to be part of a pattern of abuse,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “We call on Russian authorities to release Maksym Butkevych immediately.”

Russian authorities cracked down on independent media in the run-up to the G8. For more information, read the news alerts of July 13 and July 14.