Skyline International Condemns Drone Attack Targeting Journalist Oleksandr Pavlov in Ukraine
Stockholm: Skyline International, strongly condemns the reprehensible drone attack that targeted Ukrainian journalist Oleksandr Pavlov in the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. The incident raises grave concerns about the safety and security of journalists reporting from conflict zones.
Oleksandr Pavlov, a producer with the privately owned Swedish TV channel TV4, sustained injuries when a drone struck his team's vehicle in Stepnohirsk, a region near the frontline of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. While Mr. Pavlov survived the attack, his colleagues, reporter Johan Fredriksson and photojournalist Daniel Zdolsek, fortunately escaped unharmed. Regrettably, an accompanying Ukrainian police officer was injured, and all the vital filming equipment inside the vehicle was destroyed.
Skyline International expresses its deep concern and solidarity with Oleksandr Pavlov and his colleagues during this distressing time. Journalists like Mr. Pavlov, who are dedicated to providing crucial news coverage from conflict zones, must be safeguarded against such deliberate acts of violence.
All three members of the press crew adhered to security protocols established by both the police and their media outlet. They were wearing identifiable bulletproof vests and helmets clearly marked as "Press" while carrying out their journalistic duties. The fact that they were intentionally targeted raises alarming questions about the safety of media professionals working in Ukraine.
Gulnoza Said, Europe and Central Asia program coordinator for Skyline International, emphasized the need for immediate action. "Journalists reporting in Ukraine should be able to do their job without fear of being targeted. Russian and Ukrainian authorities should thoroughly investigate this drone attack on Oleksandr Pavlov and ensure that members of the press covering the war are afforded protection in accordance with international humanitarian law."
Furthermore, the journalists believe that they were deliberately targeted after exiting their vehicle to engage with local residents. Johan Fredriksson, an experienced war reporter, stated, "It was a direct drone attack on us," adding that the drone operator should have recognized their status as a camera crew.
Skyline International stands in solidarity with Mr. Pavlov and his colleagues, recognizing their unwavering commitment to truth and the freedom of the press. Such incidents undermine the principles of journalism and press freedom and must not go unaddressed.
Skyline International calls on Russian and Ukrainian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into this appalling incident. Those responsible for the drone attack must be held accountable under the law, and measures must be taken to ensure the safety of journalists covering the conflict in Ukraine.
Despite the risks they face, journalists like Johan Fredriksson, who has been covering the situation in Ukraine since Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022, remain resolute in their mission to provide critical coverage of the ongoing conflict.
Skyline International is deeply concerned by the continuing threats to journalists in Ukraine, where at least 15 journalists have tragically lost their lives while carrying out their essential work since Russia's full-scale invasion. Numerous others have faced injuries, detentions, or threats while fulfilling their journalistic duties.