National Press Club

National Press Club reaffirms concern about press freedom in Eastern Ukraine

August 18, 2014 | By John M. Donnelly |

The National Press Club on Monday voiced concern for the safety of a Russian photojournalist who was reported missing while covering the unrest in eastern Ukraine and for other reporters endangered in that war zone.

The Washington-based organization reiterated its stance that all sides in the ongoing conflict respect the essential right of journalists to go about their work without harassment and without fear for their safety.

Andrei Stenin, a photojournalist with the state-run Russia news agency Rossiya Segodnya has been missing since Aug. 5, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. There are conflicting reports on whether he is being held by Ukraine's security service. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said Aug. 16 it had begun a search for Stenin, ITAR-Tass reported.

The Committee to Protect Journalists in recent weeks has documented a number of incidents where local and international journalists have been injured, detained or expelled from Ukraine. The committee said that overall press-freedom conditions in the eastern part of the country have worsened in the wake of the downing of the Malaysia Airlines passenger aircraft in the Donetsk region.

"It is very important that Andrei Stenin be quickly located and freed if he is being held by Ukrainian security services," said NPC President Myron Belkind. "It is also crucial that all sides in this conflict, including the Ukrainian government and separatist groups, cease obstructing the ability of the press to cover events in eastern Ukraine, which are of great consequence to the Ukrainian public and to the international community."