Taking hostage a journalist: problems of theory and practice

  • I.B. Hazdayka-Vasylyshyn
Keywords: criminal-law protection of the journalist’s professional activity; taking hostage a journalist; criminal offences against journalists


The provisions of the current Criminal Code of Ukraine, which relate to criminal responsibility for taking journalists as hostages, are analyzed. The factors (circumstances) of the social conditionality of separate, enhanced criminal liability for this kind of criminal act are researched. In particular, public danger; the relative prevalence of this type of criminal offence, such as taking hostage a journalist are analyzed; the traditions of domestic legislative practice, as well as foreign experience of using criminal-legal measures in counter such violations are discussed; the expediency of counteracting these encroachments by criminal-law means are considered. It was concluded that separate (established by a special norm) criminal liability for taking journalists as hostages is not socially conditioned.
The position, according to which the privilege of a journalist to be a special victim in criminal law should be combined with the obligation to bear responsibility for conscientious use of opportunities related to the journalist’s professional activities is supported.
The criminal law protection of legal professional activity of a journalist, proposed in the Project of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, developed by the Working Group on Law Development of the Legal Reform Commission is researched.
Theoretical and applied problems of criminal responsibility for the crime under Article 349-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, as well as the problem of violation of the consistency of the criminal law in the aspect of «reduced» age of criminal liability and are analyzed; the imperfection of the formulation of the optional features of the subjective side of the analyzed composition of the crime (lack of linking this composition of the crime to the legitimate professional activity of a journalist) has been substantiated.
As a result of the research, a conclusion was made about the necessity exclusion of Article 349-1 from the Criminal Code of Ukraine.