Ukraine14 August 2003
A second online journalist assaulted
Reporters Without Borders today voiced concern about a violent attack on the night of 12 August on Edouard Malinivsky of the online newspaper Ostriv. The second online journalist to be assaulted in less than a month, Malinivsky was waylaid by thugs as he left a café in the eastern town of Donetsk at about 11 pm. He received several heavy blows to the head but his injuries were not life-threatening.
"We are worried by the steady increase in violence against journalists and we ask you to take effective measures to ensure that a feeling of impunity does not take hold," Reporters Without Borders said in a letter to interior minister Yuri Smirnov. The organisation also said that investigators should not rule out the possibility that the attack was connected with Malinivsky’s work.
Ostriv has carried articles that are very critical of "oligarchs" in the town of Donetsk. But the Institute of Mass Information (IMI) reported that the police were working on the assumption that it was just an altercation between drunken individuals and had detained a suspected participant.
Oleg Eltsov, the editor of the online newspaper Ukraina Kryminalna, was assaulted by two thugs as he left his home in Kiev on 24 July. He attributed the attack to his coverage of the murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze, above all his reporting of information supplied by Igor Gontcharov, a former member of the criminal investigative police who was arrested in May 2002 for his suspected role in several murders.
A key witness, Gontcharov accused police and senior interior ministry officials of being responsible for the death of Gongadze, a political reporter and editor of the online newspaper Ukraina Pravda who went missing in 2000. Gontcharov died on 1 August 2003 in prison in unclear circumstances.