Pavel Sheremet Vitaliy Holovin/Getty Images

La liberté de la presse menacée en Ukraine

NEW YORK – Le 20 juillet 2016, Pavel Sheremet, éminent journaliste né en Biélorussie, se rendait sur son lieu de travail, aux studios de Radio Vesti à Kiev, lorsque la Subaru qu’il conduisait a soudainement explosé au niveau d’un carrefour encombré. Les fenêtres avoisinantes ont tremblé, et les oiseaux ont précipitamment disparu du ciel. Âgé de 44 ans, Sheremet est décédé presque instantanément, le bureau du procureur général de Kiev ayant rapidement confirmé qu’une bombe avait provoqué l’explosion. Un an plus tard, l’enquête sur l’assassinat de Sheremet demeure non résolue.

S’il s’était agi d’un fait divers à la voiture piégée, le Comité pour la protection des journalistes (CPJ), organisation dont j’assure la coordination, n’aurait pas consacré toute l’année dernière à enquêter sur l’explosion, ni à exiger du gouvernement ukrainien une investigation poussée. Seulement voilà, Sheremet était un infatigable partisan de la transparence et de la démocratie. Il avait débuté le journalisme dans sa Biélorussie natale, puis exercé en Russie, et dernièrement en Ukraine. Tant que le mystère de sa mort ne sera pas résolu, ses compatriotes seront privés de cette vérité pour laquelle il a œuvré toute sa vie.

L’assassinat constitue l’ultime forme de censure des médias. Lorsque des journalistes sont tués, une autocensure vient s’immiscer dans le travail des autres. Et lorsqu’un État échoue à traduire les auteurs devant la justice – d’autant plus quand cet État, comme l’Ukraine, aspire à intégrer l’Union européenne – son attachement proclamé à la démocratie et à la primauté du droit sonne pour le moins creux.

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