Fourth journalist killed in Ukraine, colleague missing
Employed by Russian public broadcaster VGTRK, Igor Kornelyuk (Игорь Корнелюк) was the fourth journalist to be killed in connection with his work in Ukraine since the start of the year.
Kornelyuk's cameraman, Viktor Denisov, said he, Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin were accompanying a group of refugees and rebels when they came under mortar fire. Kornelyuk was taken to Luhansk state hospital where he died on the operating table. Voloshin's fate is currently unknown.
“The violence affecting journalists in Ukraine is reaching unprecedented levels,” said Johann Bihr, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “We again call on the belligerents to do whatever is necessary to protect journalists, as required by international law and UN Security Council Resolution 1738.
“We offer our heartfelt condolences to Kornelyuk's family and colleagues. A full and impartial investigation must be carried out to shed light on his death and the deaths of the other journalists killed in this conflict.”
The three other media fatalities have been Italian photographer Andrea Rocchelli and his fixer, the well-known Russian human rights defender Andrei Mironov, who were killed by a mortar shell near Sloviansk, in the Donetsk region, on 24 May, and Ukrainian newspaper reporter Vyacheslav Veremiy, who was gunned down in Kiev on 19 February after covering the Maidan Square protests.
More than 200 journalists have also been injured or attacked in Ukraine since the start of the year.
Reporting has become extremely difficult for journalists since the clashes between the central authorities and the anti-Kiev rebels developed into an armed conflict in April.
Dozens of journalists, bloggers and netizens have been taken hostage by anti-Kiev groups, while arrests of Russian journalists by the Ukrainian armed forces are becoming more frequent. The information war waged by the parties to the conflict has resulted in constant attacks on TV retransmission centres and harassment of local media in eastern Ukraine. Many journalists have also been harassed, attacked or detained in Crimea since its incorporation into Russia in March.
Follow RWB's news feed on media freedom violations in Ukraine
See RWB's previous releases on Ukraine
"Репортеры без границ" шокированы гибелью журналиста под Луганском (РИА Новости)
What other IFEX members are saying
Reporters Without Borders