May 3 – World Press Freedom Day

May 3, 2023

May 3rd is World Press Freedom Day. This day was established by the UN General Assembly in 1993 to emphasize the importance of media freedom in the modern world.

Today we want to draw your attention to the situation in the occupied Crimea. In the context of the long-term occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which began in 2014, the problem of freedom of speech on the peninsula is becoming increasingly relevant. The Russian Federation is increasing pressure on pro-Ukrainian media, which has led to their complete liquidation.

So, at first, professional journalists continued to work on the peninsula, but with increasing pressure, most of them were forced to leave for mainland Ukraine, while someone remained and secretly prepared materials for the Ukrainian media. As a result, civic journalism began to develop on the territory of the peninsula. Ordinary people, forced to live under conditions of temporary occupation, picked up mobile phones and turned on the camera to record numerous offenses against representatives of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people.

Russian security forces during searches in the homes of activists or during court sessions in Crimea could simply knock out the phone and camera from journalists who recorded everything on video. Sometimes the occupants also used physical force against them. Russian legislation was used as an instrument of pressure and reprisals against activists. Journalists were brought to administrative responsibility allegedly for organizing or participating in an unsanctioned rally.

Already now, among the numerous political prisoners of the Kremlin, there are a number of activists, citizen journalists, bloggers from the Crimean Solidarity.

15 Crimean journalists paid for their position and are now in the dungeons of the FSB: Server Mustafaev, Timur Ibrahimov, Marlen Asanov, Seyran Saliiev, Remzi Bekirov, Ruslan Suleymanov, Osman Arifmemetov, Rustem Sheykhaliev, Amet Suleymanov, Riza Izetov, Emir-Huseyn Kuku, Oleksii Bessarabov, Nariman Dzhelyalov, Vladyslav Yesipenko and Iryna Danylovych.

The peninsula was turned into a territory of lawlessness with the least level of freedom of speech.

The full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 marked a new stage of brutal repression against independent journalism in Ukraine. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, according to the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, the occupants have killed more than 100 Ukrainian and foreign media workers. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine reported that more than a hundred regional media in the temporarily occupied territories were forced to stop working due to threats, the destruction of editorial offices, and the inability to work under conditions of temporary occupation.

The Crimean Tatar Resource Center calls on the international community to continue to increase pressure on the occupying state so that our compatriots can continue their professional activities.