IMI submits proposals for improving cooperation between journalists and the military to the Ministry of Defense
The Institute of Mass Information submitted the basic provisions regulating the accreditation-related cooperation between journalists and the military to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.
This was reported by the IMI director, Oksana Romaniuk, at a panel discussion on wartime censorship at the forum "Ask the media: censorship, trust and all about editorial work", hosted by the online media outlet "Svydomi" and the Kyiv School of Economics on November 25.
According to Romaniuk, the documents regulating the work of the media – Appendices 3 and 4 to the UAF Commander-in-Chief's Decree No. 73 – do not align with the current law. The IMI developed two more documents adding to the basic provisions regulating the accreditation-related cooperation between journalists and the military – amendments to Appendices 3 and 4 of Order No. 73 and practical advice developed together with the military – and submitted them to the Ministry of Defense.
"To improve the interaction between journalists and the military, we have developed three documents that have been submitted to the Ministry of Defense. The first document is the basic provisions that should regulate the interaction between the military and the journalists: mutual respect, attention to the interests of both parties; understanding that there is the war, there are the interests of the state and national security, but there are also democracy and journalism," Oksana Romaniuk noted.
IMI proposed the following basic provisions for regulating the cooperation between journalists (in particular, foreign journalists) and the military so as to prevent violations of the current legal requirements in terms of both Ukrainian and international law while reporting on the war.
- It is not the movement of journalists, but their gathering of information, in particular in combat areas, at military facilities, etc., that should be regulated.
- The persons who apply for accreditation should be vetted so as to prevent anyone who poses a threat to Ukraine's national security, the life and wellbeing of citizens, etc., from obtaining information. Other grounds for restricting access, such as lack of experience, lack of first-aid kits or safety gear, low-quality photos, etc., should be considered illegal obstruction to the legal professional work of journalists.
- The only purpose of verifying the information collected by journalists and of removing information or seizing data storage devices is to guarantee the national security of Ukraine, the life and wellbeing of citizens, etc. Removing information due to its social significance, featuring certain persons or information about them, critique of subjects of authority, should be considered as obstruction to the legal professional work of journalists and may lead to legal repercussions for specific officials and for the Ukrainian state in general.
- The accreditation process and accreditation papers should be as simple as possible, and the formalization of such accreditation should be minimal.
- Refusal of accreditation should not be based on the assessed "expediency" or "inexpediency" of giving accreditation to a journalist. The primary reason granting accreditation should be the absence of risk to national security on the part of the journalist.
The Institute of Mass Information will soon publish the full documents handed over to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine; stay tuned for updates on our website.
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