Press release

Journalists publish Gongadze documents

23 July 2004

The National Union of Journalists of the UK and Ireland draws to your attention a vital collection of documents now available on line about the case of Gyorgy Gongadze, the Ukrainian journalist kidnapped and murdered in September 2000.

The documents are posted on the site, created by a group of journalists who have approached the NUJ and asked for our help in publicising it. The NUJ considers the Gongadze case to be a crucial test of media freedom on a European scale, and along with the International Federation of Journalists and our Ukrainian colleagues has been campaigning for a thorough investigation and just resolution of the case.

The documents on may provide important evidence to substantiate claims, first published by the Independent last month, that the investigation of the Gongadze case was obstructed at the highest level of government. The documents, in Ukrainian and Russian, appear to include witness statements collected by investigators at the prosecutor general's office; a secret autopsy of Ihor Honcharov, a key witness who died in jail, showing he had been injected with a poisonous drug; details of surveillance of Gongadze in the weeks before his death; and other documents.

The NUJ believes the documents to be genuine, but is not able independently to verify this. However we believe that the maximum possible transparency in this vital case is desirable, and therefore draw the attention of journalists and researchers to this important new evidence.

Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, said: "The Gongadze case is vital for journalists across Europe. Not only has a journalist been murdered with impunity, but a series of investigations have failed and vital evidence ignored. The International Federation of Journalists last year began its own inquiry into this catalogue of breakdowns, which the NUJ is actively supporting. In the interests of media freedom and free speech we believe it is right that the documents on be publicly available."

Media enquiries:

  • Jeremy Dear (NUJ general secretary) on 020 7278 7916, or
  • Simon Pirani (NUJ London Freelance branch co-chair, chair of Ukraine working group) on 020 8333 2152.
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