Journalists must be allowed to work in eastern Ukraine

New York, May 2, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today’s detention of several journalists–from CBS television, BuzzFeed, and Sky News–in Sloviansk, where pro-Russia separatists have for weeks harassed, obstructed, and detained journalists covering the crisis in eastern Ukraine. All of the journalists were released after being interrogated for hours, news reports said.

“The situation for journalists trying to cover eastern Ukraine is increasingly precarious, as tensions and lawlessness deepen,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “We again call on all parties involved to allow the press to safely do its job, which is to gather facts on the ground and report them to the rest of the world.”

Separatists continue to hold at least three journalists and a computer programmer as prisoners in Sloviansk. These are Sergei Lefter, reporter for the Warsaw-based Open Dialogue Foundation, who was reported missing in the city on April 15; Yuri Lelyavsky, a special correspondent for the Lviv-based ZIK media holding company, who was abducted on April 25 from the street while reporting; Sergei Shapoval, a reporter with Volyn Post, a news website based in the northwestern city of Lutsk, who was reported missing on April 26; and computer programmer Artyom Deyneha, a Sloviansk resident who is being held for setting up a Web camera to film a detention facility.