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Commission on Journalistic Ethics condemns pressure on "CUKR" team

14.07.2023, 17:03

The Commission on Journalistic Ethics condemns threats to the online magazine "CUKR" triggered by a report on the life of LGBTIQ+ people in Sumy, writes the organization in their statement.

The threats were posted on July 12 on a Telegram channel with over 140,000 subscribers: unknown persons were calling for the "destruction" of the "CUKR" office.

"The Commission strongly condemns such crude pressure on the team of an independent media outlet. The purpose of such threats is to influence the editorial policy of the publication and the way the journalists observe the standards of their profession," the statement reads.

The CJE stressed that editorial independence is a prerequisite for the existence of high quality journalism, as it allows journalists to freely choose topics to cover – in particular, topics related to the life of various social groups.

"In this case, the article about the life of LGBTIQ+ people gives visibility to the problems faced by the heroes of the report and contributes to overcoming discrimination against this group," the Commission adds.

The statement refers to two points of the Ukrainian Journalist's Code of Ethics.

In particular, Clause 1 of the Ukrainian Journalist's Code of Ethics states that freedom of speech and expression is an inalienable part of a journalist's work. Pressure on the media forces them to abandon topics that appear to be "dangerous", which leads to self-censorship and eventually to silencing problems or avoiding criticism. As a result, journalists no longer adhere to professional and ethical standards in their job.

The CJE also called attention to Clause 15 of the code, which emphasizes that no one must be discriminated against because of their gender, language, race, religion, national, regional or social background or political views. By extention, this list also prohibits discrimination based on sexuality and gender identity.

The Commission on Journalistic Ethics calls on the National Police to thoroughly and promptly investigate the pressure on the "CUKR" team and identify the authors of the threats.

As reported by IMI, on July 12, unknown persons on the Telegram channel "Sumy: Holovne" posted threats to destroy the "CUKR" office following an article about the life of the local LGBTQ+ community.

On July 14, the Sumy Oblast Police opened a case over threats to "CUKR" journalists.

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