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Russia, Ukraine Journalists Seek Penalties After Attacks

FILE - Organization for Security and Co-operation Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic during a press conference in Budapest, Hungary, Jan. 18, 2011.

Russian and Ukrainian journalist unions have called for penalties after recent attacks on media members in both countries.

Following a meeting in Vienna Wednesday, union representatives also urged reporters to avoid what they called the ongoing information war in the conflict in Ukraine.

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović said that violence against journalists has decreased and all journalists held captive in Ukraine have been released.

“But this can hardly be seen as satisfactory,” Mijatović said. “Much more needs to be done to fight impunity to ensure journalists’ safety and to prevent any act of violence against members of the media.”

In a joint declaration, participants called on journalists “to persist in exposing all killings and acts of violence against journalists” and to continue pressuring authorities to “fully investigate these crimes.”

Besides Russian and Ukrainian journalist unions, representatives of the International Federation of Journalists, the European Federation of Journalists, the International Press Institute, Reporters without Borders, and the Ethical Journalism Network attended the meeting, held under the auspices of the OSCE.

The representatives of the Ukrainian and Russian journalist unions are scheduled to meet again in mid-April.