Ukraine: next crackdown on opposition media

Igor Guzhva again under attack
by Sergei Kiritchuk
Ukrainian authorities are strengthening pressure on the a few remaining oppositional media and certain journalists who still dare to criticize the Kiev government policy or publish investigations about the corruption schemes of Ukrainian officials.

On June 22th, two dozen men from Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) stormed the office of the main oppositional media

Its editor-in-chief one of Igor Guzhva was arrested in Kiev and sent to a temporary detention center. As he reported, their work was blocked while “a search is ongoing at the agency for a falsification”. The deputy chief editor Svetlana Kryukova reported the details of the seizure. According to her, the news-room was occupied by the employees of SBU.

Kyiv district court imposed a pre-trial restraint for the editor-in-chief of "", Igor Guzhva with the possibility of bail at 20, 900 USD. At the same time, Guzhva's lawyer and the former Minister of Justice, Olena Lukash said the bail has already been paid but Guzhva remains in custody.

No videos or photos of Guzhva actually receiving a bribe have been published. Igor Guzhva told in the interview that the investigation relates to the Ukrainian Radical Party MP, Dmytro Linko’s attempt to bribe to get rid of the compromising article.

However, in his comment to Hromadske TV, Dmytro Linko himself denied appealing to the editorial board of

Guzhva himself denies all accusations and claims that somebody twice offered him a bribe in return for deleting some critical publications about the leader of the Radical Party Oleh Lyashko which he did not do.

There are many similar cases, though lesser highlighted by human right activists. For example the journalist Dmitry Vasilets and IT specialist Evegeniy Timonin were arrested more than a year ago and regularly have the terms prolonged, while trials are being constantly postponed. As the authorities can’t prove the guilt they just delay the pronouncement of the non-guilty verdict.

Many may remember recent events around Ukrainian Inter TV channel which was literally attacked first by law enforcement then by the ultra-nationalist paramiliaries. Also we need to remember the murder of Oles Buzina and Pavel Sheremet, the circumstances of which had not been clarified up until now while the investigation is fully closed from the public. The current crackdown on the remaining opposition media falls in line with the entire government policy of stifling media freedom in Ukraine.