: Guardian: The rise of Kremlin-style trolling in Ukraine must end

09:55 Jul. 28, 2016

Guardian: The rise of Kremlin-style trolling in Ukraine must end

Funeral of Ukrainian journalist Pavlo Sheremet (Photo UNIAN)

Journalists who contradict government narratives are being subjected to organised online abuse

Ukraine's media community has been left shellshocked after the killing of prominent journalist Pavel Sheremet in a car bomb attack last week.

Although no motive has been confirmed, his friends and colleagues say his death is linked to his reporting, offering further evidence of the increasingly dangerous conditions in which many of the country's reporters work.

Read also Before his murder, Sheremet met Ukraine's ex-tax chief and Nemtsov's allies in Moscow

Journalist deaths are rare and extreme events, harassment and intimidation are more common, but a silencing tactic that has quickly gained in popularity is the use of internet trolls.

I've experienced this type of abuse first hand. Earlier this month, the online TV company I run found itself the subject of a troll attack.

It started in early July when the press service of Ukraine's joint staff, the country's top military coordination body, released a statement on its Facebook page accusing my company, Hromadske, of smuggling a Russian journalist to the frontline in east Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists are battling the national army.

Hromadske is a young TV and multimedia organization created in 2013 as a prototype of a public broadcaster in Ukraine.

Our journalists have frequently travelled to the war zone in the past two years. First, to cover the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, and then to report on the heavy fighting in Donetsk and Luhansk that followed.

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