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BBG Issues Condemnations

International broadcaster takes Ukraine and Cambodia to task for harassing journalists

The last couple of weeks have been busy for Broadcasting Board of Governors and its various entities.

On Jan. 21, BBG Chairman Jeff Shell and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty President and CEO Kevin Klose condemned attacks on journalists covering protests in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. RFE/RL Ukrainian Service (Radio Svoboda) reporter Dmytro Barkar and cameraman Ihor Ishkov were among those attacked by Ukrainian government security forces.

Shell said, “Attacking journalists under any circumstances is unacceptable. This was an egregious and shocking suppression of free press that left our reporters badly injured and in need of emergency medical care. There needs to be a prompt and thorough investigation.”

The journalists were attacked on Jan. 20. A local press group, Institute of Mass Information, said that 35 journalists were injured in a two-day period, Jan. 19–20, covering the protests.

In Cambodia, a Jan. 27, protest supporting Beehive Radio and other independent media outlets, encountered police forces. Beehive Radio has carried Voice of America and Radio Free Asia programming. Afterwards, the Cambodian government accused “Radio Free Asia and Voice of America of manipulating the news,” according to a release.

Shell responded on Jan. 30, “We call on the Cambodian government to respect the role of independent media and we categorically reject the accusations that the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia fabricate or manipulate the news.”

He added, “The report released by the Cambodian Council of Ministers on Jan. 28, 2014, with unsubstantiated claims of bias, is a troubling extension of a pattern of threats, attempts at intimidation, targeting of journalists and restrictions on independent media in Cambodia.”