May 30, 2024

30.05.2024 – Ukrainska Pravda Journalists Face Threats Following Investigation

On 10 May 2024, Mykhailo Tkach (Михаил Сергеевич Ткач), born 1988, head of the investigation department at Ukrainska Pravda (Украинская правда –, allegedly received a threatening message. This message was connected to his investigation from April 2024, which exposed the lavish vacations of wealthy Ukrainian youth. The sender of the message proposed a monetary reward and warned, “I advise against putting off your response. I can fight, too.”

The situation escalated on 11 May 2024 when unauthorized attempts were made to access Tkach’s bank account. Additionally, he began receiving numerous calls from unknown numbers and text messages with authorization codes from banking and credit institutions. On 13 May 2024, at least ten Ukrainska Pravda journalists and editors received threatening emails from a anonymous sender. The messages reiterated the threats and suggested that the ability to keep quiet could save lives. The emails were sent to the newsroom, but also to journalists’ private email addresses.

The editorial team of Ukrainska Pravda has reported these threats to state authorities, viewing them as deliberate attempts to intimidate Tkach and other staff members. The City Prosecutor’s Office in Kyiv (Київ), Ukraine announced that the Shevchenkivskyi (Шевченківський район) Police Department in Kyiv, Ukraine is conducting a preliminary investigation into the threats and harassment aimed at preventing journalists from fulfilling their professional duties.

In a statement, Tkach acknowledged the prompt response from law enforcement but highlighted that many cases involving obstruction of journalistic activity remain unsolved.

The series of threats underscores the challenges faced by investigative journalists in Ukraine, particularly those uncovering stories of public interest during a war.

This is not the first threat against Tkach. The jouranlist reported in 2020 that he got information, that a surveillance device had been hidden in his apartment. The police checked his home and found several holes in the attic and a hole in the kitchen ceiling that could be used for spying him. On 17 November 2023 in the evening Tkach was attacked in the village of Kozyn (Kyiv Oblast) when he was reporting.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemns the recent threats against Mykhailo Tkach and the journalists of Ukrainska Pravda. Such intimidation tactics aimed at silencing investigative journalists are an egregious assault on press freedom and democratic values. SEEMO calls for a swift and transparent investigation by Ukrainian authorities to ensure the safety of journalists and to uphold their essential role in society. The ability of the press to operate without fear of retribution is fundamental to a free and open society, and these reprehensible threats must not be tolerated. It is important also in the time of war to protect press freedom in the country.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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