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Case against CJE, which criticized trafficking in press cards, dropped. IMI’s case still under investigation

12.08.2021, 14:59
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The criminal proceeding against Andriy Kulikov, Chairman of the Commission on Journalistic Ethics (CJE) was dismissed. The probe had been launched by Volyn police after complaint filed by Serhiy Kot, editor-in-chief of the Journalists Against Corruption news agency. But another proceeding on the same issue, initiated after Serhiy Kot’s complaint against Oksana Romanyuk, executive director of IMI,is still under investigation, as Lydia Dmytrus, a lawyer defending CJE, told ZMINA human rights center.

According to her, she learnt it from the response to a lawyer's request. The letter from the police said that the reason for closing the proceedings was the expiration of the pre-trial investigation term.

At the same time, as Lidia Dmytrus noted, another proceeding based on Serhiy Kot's complaint against the head of the Institute of Mass Information Oksana Romanyuk for criticizing a similar practice of the news agency, was still being investigated.  

As IMI reported, on January 26, 2021, the Volyn region police opened criminal proceedings against Andriy Kulikov, Chairman of the Commission on Journalistic Ethics, at the request of Serhiy Kot, Editor-in-Chief of the Journalists Against Corruption news agency and head of the National Union of Independent Journalists of Ukraine for obstruction to professional activity of journalists (Art 171), counteraction to lawful economic activity (Art. 206) and coercion to fulfill or not-to-fulfill civil law obligations (Art. 355) of the Criminal Code.

Serhiy Kot complained to the police after the decision of Commission on Journalism Ethics of December 29, 2020, which condemned him publicly, called for him to stop granting non-journalistic status to journalists and to stop the advertising campaign to attract such "journalists".

On January 21, 2021, it became known that on December 31, 2020, the Kamin-Kashirski police in Volyn region opened a criminal investigation into the complaint from Serhiy Kot, head of the NGO Journalists Against Corruption, against Oksana Romanyuk, executive director of the Institute of Mass Information.

Serhiy Kot accused Oksana Romanyuk of "knowingly false reporting of the crime." This is a comment that the head of IMI gave to Detector Media over the news about the trafficking of press cards by the Journalists Against Corruption NGO, headed by Serhiy Kot .

On January 24, 2021, the Media Movement called on the National Police to immediately investigate the actions of the Journalists Against Corruption NGO and to refrain from persecuting activists for their comments in mass media.

On January 27, 2021, the Commission on Journalistic Ethics called on the National Police and the Ministry of Justice to inspect the news agency and newspaper Journalists Against Corruption, the National Union of Independent Journalists of Ukraine, IA Tavria News, the Liga Inform newspaper and the Business Companion magazine on the grounds of forgery of documents, abuse of the rights of a journalist, obtaining a certificate of state registration by deception.

Since Oksana Romaniuk had criticized this practice, from the beginning of 2021, the Journalists Against Corruption website begun publishing discrediting stories about the media expert, calling her a “grant eater” and resorting to personal insults. Mostly these are reprints of various discrediting texts and videos from previous years.

This incident is included to the monitoring report on public persecution of the ZMINA Human Rights Center for 2020.

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