Anas­tasiya Stanko be­comes first in Ukraine to win In­ter­na­tional Press Free­dom Award

Kyiv Post - - National - BY DARIA SHULZHENKO. [email protected]

Anas­tasiya Stanko be­came the first Ukrainian jour­nal­ist to be awarded with the 2018 In­ter­na­tional Press Free­dom Award, a prom­i­nent jour­nal­ism prize given by the Com­mit­tee to Pro­tect Jour­nal­ists, a U.S.-based non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Founded in 1991, the an­nual In­ter­na­tional Press Free­dom Award cel­e­brates jour­nal­ists from all over the world who have been de­fend­ing press free­dom de­spite at­tacks, threats or im­pris­on­ment.

Stanko, a jour­nal­ist at Hro­madske tele­vi­sion and news site, which she also co-founded in 2013, re­ceived the award on Nov. 20 in New York. She shared the award with three jour­nal­ists from Viet­nam, Venezuela and Su­dan.

“It has been four years since I filed my first re­port from the war-zone in Eastern Ukraine, and to­day I’m stand­ing on this stage not only as Nastya Stanko, a jour­nal­ist of the Hro­madske tele­vi­sion sta­tion, but also as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of many Ukrainian in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ists who re­port on war and cor­rup­tion in my coun­try,” Stanko said upon re­ceiv­ing the prize.

“Hon­est jour­nal­ism is the best form of pa­tri­o­tism,” she added.

Stanko has been cov­er­ing the Euro­maidan Rev­o­lu­tion that ousted then-pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych on Feb. 22, 2014, as well as Rus­sia’s an­nex­a­tion of Crimea and its in­va­sion of eastern Ukraine in spring 2014.

In her award speech, Stanko spoke of Ukrainian jour­nal­ist Ge­orgiy Gon­gadze, who was kid­napped and killed in 2000, as well as Be­laru­sianUkrainian jour­nal­ist Pavel Sheremet, killed by a car bomb in Kyiv in 2016.

The per­pe­tra­tors of Gon­gadze’s mur­der were jailed 13 years af­ter the killing, but the master­mind be­hind it was never found. Then-Pres­i­dent Leonid Kuchma was im­pli­cated in the mur­der, with tapes be­ing leaked where he or­ders to shut down the crit­i­cal jour­nal­ist. In Sheremet’s case, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion hasn’t even iden­ti­fied any sus­pects.

Gon­gadze’s wife, head of the Ukrainian ser­vice of Voice of Amer­ica My­roslava Gon­gadze was in the au­di­ence dur­ing the award cer­e­mony.

Stanko said the at­tacks on jour­nal­ists in Ukraine might be an at­tempt to frighten the jour­nal­ists who cover Rus­sia’s war in eastern Ukraine, as well as the war against Ukrainian cor­rup­tion.

She her­self has been the vic­tim of at­tacks on on­line trolls and suf­fered threats when she called jour­nal­ists to avoid hate speech when re­port­ing about the Rus­sian-backed sep­a­ratist fight­ers in Ukraine’s east. In 2016, she was un­der fire from pro-gov­ern­ment blog­gers who ac­cused her of giv­ing out po­si­tions of Ukrainian army in Don­bas in her cov­er­age, which she and Hro­madske de­nied.

“This award is not about my per­sonal achieve­ments,” Stanko said. “It is a sign of what Ukrainian jour­nal­ists have to deal with, while mov­ing our coun­try to­wards Europe and the rest of the civ­i­lized world and their val­ues, (in­clud­ing) re­spect for free­dom of speech and hu­man rights, trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity of those in power, re­spect for hu­man dig­nity, equal­ity and non-vi­o­lence.”

Hro­madske TV jour­nal­ist Anas­tasiya Stanko re­ceives the 2018 In­ter­na­tional Press Free­dom Award in New York on Nov. 20, 2018. The award from the Com­mit­tee to Pro­tect Jour­nal­ists, a U.S.-based ad­vo­cacy group, cel­e­brates jour­nal­ists who de­fend press free­dom world­wide. (Hro­madske)

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