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Complaint filed against Yulia Mendel to police for obstruction of journalist work

08.10.2019, 12:19

On October 7, the journalist Danylo Yanevskiy has filed a complaint with the Police Directorate in Solomyansky district in Kyiv about the fact of obstruction of the legitimate professional activities of Radio Svoboda journalists Serhiy Andrushko and Christopher Miller by Yulia Mendel, spokesman of the President Volodymyr Zelensky. Yanewski posted the complaint on his Facebook page, as Radio Svoboda reported.

Danylo Yanevsky requested to file his complaint against Yulia Mendel to the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations under Art. 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

According to Yanevsky, the actions of the presidential spokesman “are unlawful in terms of criminal law because, by that physical action aiming to take effect on a journalist, the press secretary committed a deliberate obstruction of legitimate professional activity the journalist was performing, responsibility for which is stipulated by the Art. 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine”.

Thus, as Danylo Yanevsky told, “exceeding the limits of authority, the official Yu. V. Mendel deliberately violated the journalist's right to freely collect information, made it impossible to get an access to the information for him, exercised physical action aiming to influence the journalist in order to prevent him from performing his professional duties” .

In his complaint, DAmylo Yanevsky mentioned two other incidents of obstruction to work involving the journalists with Radio Liberty Serhiy Andrushko and Christopher Miller and the presidential spokesperson.

IMI reported, in September in Kyiv, the press secretary of the President Yulia Mendel pushed away the Radio Svoboda correspondent Serhiy Andrushko in order prevent the journalist from asking some questions to Volodymyr Zelensky.

For her part, Yulia Mendel noted that she had not pushed Sergei Andrushko, and added that journalists should not violate the safety of the first person.

Radio Liberty has released a full video of the incident.

On September 27, the journalist of Radio Liberty Christopher Miller and his colleague for Livyy Bereh Natalya Shimkov claimerd that they had also recently encountered similar behavior by Presidential Press Secretary Yulia Mendel.

On September 30, Media Movement and several other media representatives called on the President Volodymyr Zelensky to respond publicly to that alarming tendency, when  the staff of the President's Office made obstruction to the journalists’ work.

On September 30, several independent journalists, “Initiative 34”, demanded to dismiss the presidential spokeswoman Yulia Mendel for her "unprofessional and unethical" behavior towards the press.

On October 1, at a briefing, President Volodymyr Zelensky made a joke with allusion to that scandal involving his press secretary Yulia Mendel, asking her at the press point: "Did you push anyone, Yul, didn’t you?"

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