The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned the "harassment" of reporters in Ukraine after security services raided the offices of an independent news website and a member of parliament criticized the head of the national press union for his response to the raid.
Ukrainian authorities should "end their harassment" of Strana.ua and "stop fostering a hostile environment toward the press," said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova in a statement on August 14.
Strana.ua said security service agents searched its Kyiv premises and the homes of two of its journalists last week as part of an investigation into allegations that the website disclosed confidential government information.
The raid was criticized by the chairman of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, Serhiy Tomilenko, who in turn was accused by deputy Dmytro Tymchuk of supporting anti-Ukrainian activities.
CPJ quoted Tomilenko as saying that he has since received threatening messages on social media.
"Politicians are creating a toxic atmosphere for the media by dividing Ukrainian journalists into patriotic and unpatriotic, when they should be encouraging a wide variety of viewpoints to inform the public,” Ognianova said.