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Journalist assaulted, threatened with legal action over critical report about mayor

(IMI/IFEX) - The following is a statement from IMI, an interim member of IFEX:

Journalist with "Commercant" newspaper beaten on dark porch

On 13 August 2007, at 10:40 p.m. (local time), two unidentified persons attacked Artem Skoropadskiy, a journalist with "Commercant" newspaper, on the porch of his home.

"On the dark porch, two unknown persons punched me in the face. After I kicked one of them in self-defence, they went away," Mr Skoropadskiy told the news agency Noviy Region (New Region).

The assailants did not say a word. Nor did they try to extort money from the journalist.

Mr Skoropadskiy explained that he believed the attack was in connection with his professional activity as a journalist as, on the same day, "Commercant" came out with his story harshly criticizing the activity of Kyiv mayor Leonid Chernovetskiy.

"This was a story about the row between City Hall and merchants who trade in objects bearing patriotic symbols at Independent Square (Maydan), whose shops Chernovetskiy is trying to shut down. I was able to attend the negotiations behind closed doors between Chernovetskiy and the merchants, where the mayor shouted at them to get out of Maydan square, 'taking their badges in their teeth'. All this I described in today's story, after which City Hall called the editorial office and the functionaries told us they would file a legal action as they believe I have distorted the mayor's quotation," Mr Skoropadskiy told Noviy Region.

The journalist, a citizen of the Russian Federation, has lodged a complaint with the police.

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