Washington, D.C., August 30, 2019 — Ukrainian authorities must immediately investigate the recent attack on blogger Igor Stakh, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Yesterday, in Chernihiv, in northern Ukraine, two unidentified individuals kicked and punched Stakh near his home and then fled the scene, according to local news reports and a statement by the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, an independent trade group.
Stakh was brought to a local hospital where he received stitches for a wound on his chin, was treated for a concussion, and was released, according to those reports.
“The Chernihiv police must conduct a thorough investigation into the attack on Igor Stakh and hold the perpetrators to account,” said CPJ’s program coordinator for Europe and Central Asia, Gulnoza Said, in New York. “Such attacks on journalists are unacceptable and authorities must ensure that journalists are protected and able to carry out their work without fear.”
Stakh told the union that he witnessed the attackers leave in a car and noted the car’s license plate number, but said that local police told him that the license plate information was not important, according to the union statement.
The union and its affiliate in Chernihiv said in their statement that the attack was likely connected to Stakh’s reporting on local corruption, which he publishes on his Facebook page and YouTube channel.
The journalist told CPJ via messaging app that he had received threats from local officials for his reporting on their alleged involvement in corrupt activities.
CPJ emailed the Chernihiv police department for comment but did not receive a response.