Ukraine Should Stop Arresting Pro-Russian Journalists

How It Works
May 22 2014 6:08 PM

Ukraine Should Stop Arresting Pro-Russian Journalists

Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, Russian media outlets have propagated some stunningly inaccurate information. Unfortunately, the new government in Kiev, apparently fed up with being depicted as fascists, anti-Semites and Western stooges, appear to be responding by cracking down on hostile media.

Graham Philips, a British blogger working for the Russian cable network RT was released yesterday after being arrested near Mariupol for "unauthorized recording of sensitive sites," spending the night in custody, and being questioned about his work for the network.

Advertisement

Two Russian journalists for the network Life News were also detained on Sunday and accused of aiding the rebels and carrying anti-aircraft missiles. A filmed confession from one  journalists, Marat Saichenko, was released by the Ukrainian Security Service and doesn’t exactly do much to allay concerns about the case.

This isn’t to defend the work of either outlet -- as the Wall Street Journal notes, “When three Ukrainian intelligence officers were captured by militants in late April, Life News aired what it called its interview with the beaten detainees as they sat tied to chairs, stripped to their underwear and blindfolded with what appeared to be bloody packaging tape.” And at this point, the conflict in Ukraine is as much an information war as a military conflict.

But these incidents, along with reports that Ukraine is denying entry to other Russian journalists ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, aren’t particularly encouraging about the country's prospects for a transition to democracy.

Just as they condemn the abuse and detention of Western and Ukrainian journalists by pro-Russian forces, Ukraine’s international supporters should put pressure on the government not to become the kind of regime these Russian outlets portray it as. 

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Yes, Black Families Tend to Spank More. That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good for Black Kids.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

The World

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies

They’re just not ready to admit it yet.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 16 2014 4:08 PM More Than Scottish Pride Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 1:27 PM The Veronica Mars Spinoff Is Just Amusing Enough to Keep Me Watching
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.