In Ukraine, editor brutally assaulted by unknown assailants

New York, March 6, 2013–Ukrainian authorities must apprehend the assailants who brutally attacked an independent editor on Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Three unidentified men attacked and beat Taras Chornoivan, chief editor for the local news website Tarasova Pravda, in the central city of Vinnitsa in the evening, the Kiev-based press freedom group Institute for Mass Information (IMI) reported. The attackers did not take any of the journalist’s belongings and fled the scene after the police were called, according to a friend of the editor who spoke to CPJ on condition of anonymity.

Chornoivan was treated at a local hospital for broken ribs and teeth, a concussion, chest trauma, and multiple bruises, IMI reported. Authorities have opened a probe into the incident, regional prosecutor’s office reported.

“We are alarmed by this vicious assault against Taras Chornoivan, and urge regional authorities to bring those responsible to justice,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Research Associate Muzaffar Suleymanov. “A thorough, transparent, and effective investigation will demonstrate authorities’ commitment to free expression and the rule of law.”

News accounts reported that Tarasova Pravda was known for publishing controversial stories, including allegations of corruption against local government officials. Chornoivan told reporters that he believed Tuesday’s attack had been prompted by a series of articles in Tarasova Pravda accusing Aleksandr Dombrovskiy, a former governor, of vote rigging in last fall’s parliamentary election. Dombrovskiy’s election to parliament was struck down by Ukraine’s Supreme Administrative Court last month after an opposition politician accused the former governor of vote rigging and filed a complaint against him, news reports said.

Tarasova Pravda launched a print edition on Monday, with a mocking photo illustration depicting Dombrovskiy on a toilet. A critical story about the former governor accompanied the illustration.

Dombrovskiy’s spokesman denied his involvement in the attack, and said that neither the official nor his staffers had seen or read the paper, local press reported.

  • For more data on the Ukraine, visit CPJ’s Attacks on the Press.