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The Barriers to Reporting in Ukraine

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Fighting has escalated again this week but it is difficult for Western journalists to give a full picture due to reporting restrictions in the rebel-held parts of eastern Ukraine.

  • Facts


    • The Minsk II agreement was signed on February 11, 2015.
    • The ceasefire has not held very well, and this week there was renewed fighting with numerous casualties.
    • Western journalists often find it hard to access the rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine.
  • Audio


  • Pdf
Situation in Eastern Ukraine during Presidential elections
Pro-Russian separatists man a checkpoint on the outskirts of the city of Donetsk. Source: DPA

Sometimes what we journalists write doesn’t depend on our ideas but on the actions of a uniformed intelligence officer. Like the one who was standing at a checkpoint in eastern Ukraine on a cold day in January. He shook his head and said, “You can’t pass this way!”

We were standing at a checkpoint called “Oktyabr.” An icy wind was chasing across the flat plain, the sun reflecting in a frozen lake. Around about us were the remains of what once could have been a farm. Bullet hole-ridden walls, roofs torn to shreds, fields rutted by mortars. They had set up provisional barracks, from which emerged uniformed men, who wearily searched through our car for the fourth time.

We were here because we wanted to report on the work being done in Ukraine by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and on the separatist territory. We all had the necessary authorizations to do so with us.

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