Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Polish authorities to stop detaining journalists at Polish-Ukrainian border

The Ukrainska Pravda film crew being detained on the border with Poland on 27 February. Photo: Ukrainska Pravda
The Ukrainska Pravda film crew being detained on the border with Poland on 27 February. Photo: Ukrainska Pravda

Following the detention of two groups of journalists at the border with Ukraine, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement on 18 March calling on the Polish authorities to refrain from detaining members of the press who are covering matters of public interest.

Source: Gulnoza Said, Europe and Central Asia programme coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

Details: The CPJ began with a reminder that on 27 February, Polish police detained Ukrainska Pravda’s investigative journalist Mykhailo Tkach and his cameraman near the border as they were working on a report on the trade in agricultural products between Poland and Russia through Belarus.

And on 7 March, Polish law enforcement officers detained journalist Yurii Konkevych and cameraman Oleksandr Piliuk of the media outlet Rayon.in.ua as they were reporting on freight traffic on the Polish-Russian border. The police then deported the reporters to Ukraine.

Quote from Gulnoza Said: "CPJ is concerned by Poland’s detention, in the span of two weeks, of four Ukrainian journalists who were investigating the country’s trade with Russia.

Journalists should be able to report on matters of public interest without fear of detention or deportation."

Watch Ukrainska Pravda’s investigation into how Warsaw is increasing trade with Russia through Belarus (with English subtitles).

Background: 

  • On 28 February, Polish law enforcement officers arrested an Ukrainska Pravda film crew consisting of Mykhailo Tkach, head of the investigative journalism department, and videographer Yaroslav Bondarenko, close to the Polish-Belarusian border as they were filming a story about the transit of goods between Poland, Russia and Belarus. Some of the footage was deleted by the Polish authorities.

  • While our colleagues were being detained, the Polish police searched their car, removed the memory cards from their cameras, and took all their phones and documents.

  • The Podlaskie Voivodeship police posted a brief note on the evening of 27 February to say that they had not "detained a journalist from Ukraine".

  • Later, the police reported that officers had taken measures to identify some individuals whose presence in the border area had caused concern to local residents.

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