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Ukraine: Media Body Count Says Everything About Free Speech in the New Ukraine

String of Russian journalist murders marks end of press freedom in Ukraine

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This article originally appeared at SteveLendmanBlog

Ukraine is a US-installed Nazi-infested fascist police state. Press freedom is banned. Criticizing government policy risks arrest, torture, imprisonment or death.

Last year, independent journalist/RT International stringer Graham Phillips received death threats. Right Sector thugs put a $10,000 bounty on his head.

He was maliciously called a Russian spy. He was arrested, held incommunicado. Later freed, he's lucky to be alive.

So are Russian journalists Oleg Sidyankin and Marat Saichenko. They were detained several days, brutally treated and threatened with death.

Ukraine equates truth-telling with terrorism. RT's Irina Galushko said her cameraman was threatened. At the time, she twittered:

"cam'man i'm working with just informed his addresses and contacts are in hands of Security Service, Right Sector and Nat'l Guard #Odessa."

Last September, Russian photojournalist Andrew Stenin was found dead in Donbass - murdered in cold blood.

He was kidnapped, remained missing for weeks. At first, Ukraine's interior minister advisor Anton Herashchenko said he was arrested for "helping terrorists." He then claimed he was misinterpreted.

Kiev stonewalled Russia's efforts to free him. At the time, the International Federation of Journalists expressed "serious concern" for his wellbeing. In mid-August, it issued a statement, saying:

"He's a journalist, not a soldier, and as such is entitled to move freely and report the truth without the threat of intimidation, violence or detention."

On September 3, Rossiya Segodnya director general Dmitry Kiselev said Stenin died weeks earlier when a car he was traveling in came under fire.

It "burnt on a highway in the vicinity of Donetsk," he explained. Autopsy results identified Stenin's body.

At the time, Russia's Foreign Minister issued a stinging statement, saying in part:

"An end must be put immediately to Kiev’s illegitimate efforts to prevent journalists from doing their duty, including by attacking, murdering, detaining and kidnapping (them) from 'undesirable' media outlets."

"How many more innocent lives must be sacrificed before Kiev stops its reckless and criminal policy towards millions of people in southeastern Ukraine?"

"Its (US-led) Western patrons must review their hypocritical and double-dealing approach to the human rights disaster in Ukraine…"

In 2014, Kiev murdered Russian journalists included correspondent Igor Kornelyuk, video engineer Anton Voloshin, cameraman Anatoly Klyan, and photojournalist Stenin.

In mid-April independent journalist/regime critic Oles Buzina was shot dead near his Kiev home. He was targeted for reporting hard truths.

Numerous other independent journalists were kidnapped and/or murdered in Ukraine. Some foreign journalists were deported. Others aren't allowed in the country.

In Ukraine, truth-telling verboten. No regime opposition is tolerated.

RT correspondent Paula Slier is the latest Russian journalist to be threatened. She left Ukraine after a local pro-regime journalist urged security services to arrest her.

Other regime supporters want her dead. State-controlled Ukraine Week journalist Ukrainsky Tizhden posted the following on Facebook:

"The worker of the Kremlin propaganda channel Russia Today Paula Slier, who laughingly reported on self-defense forces burning Ukrainian soldiers alive with ‘Grad’ missiles, moves freely about the country."

"Sirs from Ukraine’s Security Council, it’s your mistake. Maybe even Graham Philips could arrive? Those rascals shouldn’t be in our country."

His comments stirred a rage of anti-Russian anger. Calls for Slier's death followed.

On May 5, she thanked everyone for alerting her to the threats. "(A)fter being made aware of them I left Kiev and am now out of Ukraine," she said.

RT said it wasn't the first time she got death threats. Last September, she was threatened when reporting on Kiev's aggression on Donbass.

She's no stranger to dangerous places, she explained. "I am used to working in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq but it's a different kind of fear," she said.

"You risk for example being in the wrong place at the wrong time and facing kidnappings, bombings and the like; but here it’s being afraid that someone will recognize you amid a conscious effort to catch and hurt you."

RT's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan commented saying:

"The threats made against Paula have once again demonstrated that Ukraine does not have proper working conditions for journalists, even when they cover important stories such as the Chernobyl fire, and other issues entirely unrelated to politics."

"We are extremely alarmed by the fact that reporters have to fear for their lives, and we call upon the government of Ukraine to ensure a safe environment for the press."

Russia's Investigative Committee (RIC) began a criminal probe of pro-regime Ukrainian journalist Yury Romanenko following public comments he made, saying:

"The military forces of Ukraine must selectively and thoroughly exterminate Russian journalists who cover the situation in Donbass."

"They must issue an order to army snipers that people with ‘Press’ written on their helmets are priority targets."

RIC spokesman Vladimir Markin said "(i)n the investigators' opinion, (Romanenko's) material contains destructive calls that could incline Ukrainian officials and military servicemen towards committing mass murders of Russian citizens who work as journalists."

"In addition, Romanenko’s words incite hatred and hostility towards journalists of the Russian Federation as a social group."

Markin explained that Russian law permits prosecuting foreign citizens committing crimes abroad if they target its citizens in the interests of another nation.

Retired US army general Robert Scales is being investigated for wanting Russians killed to resolve Ukrainian crisis conditions.

He said so live on Fox News in March. At the time, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich responded angrily, saying:

"Some US military and political leaders, who, like General Scales started killing during the Vietnam War, just can’t seem to let go."

"Blinded by their hatred of Russia, they are unable to see a constructive view of reality."

"This is how the mainstream US media are creating an atmosphere of Russophobia in the country."

"(T)he tune in this unbridled propaganda campaign is set in Washington where aggressive statements are made every day. We will draw adequate conclusions from this."

"Mr Scales should be informed that a case has been opened against him in Russia under Article 354 of the Criminal Code."

Scales is like many other lunatics infesting Washington influencing US policy.

Giving them air time on national TV ups the ante for direct confrontation with Russia - recklessly risking nuclear war.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

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