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Independent Media Council condemned SBI's pressure on Butusov

02.12.2021, 13:00

The Independent Media Council condemned pressure of the authorities on Yuriy Butusov and emphasizes that self-regulation was as an adequate alternative to resolve controversies in the media. This is said in the statement of the Independent Media Council of December 1.

"On November 28, the State Bureau of Investigation released a report on the verification of legality of actions" of Yuri Butusov, editor-in-chief of the online publication Although the report was quickly disavowed by the bureau itself, the Independent Media Council spoke out. 

In itself, the circumstances of the video recording published by Mr. Butusov can be verified by law enforcement agencies. On the other hand, the journalistic community is currently discussing the ethics of such actions of the editor-in-chief of However, the form and content of the SBI report contradict both the law and the practice of law enforcement agencies in informing the public about their work. 

After all, it contains signs of violation of the presumption of innocence and the norms of the Civil Code on the use of a person's name (Article 296). In addition, the mentioned article 437 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine ("Planning, preparation, launching and conducting an aggressive war") can apply only to persons who can legally or de facto influence military formations or paramilitary structures, which obviously does not apply to this situation. " , - it is spoken in the statement. 

The IMC also noted that following the altercation between Yuriy Butusov and the President of Ukraine on November 26 the actions of the SBI "may cast doubt on its political independence and professionalism." 

For its part, the Independent Media Council declares the expediency of using existing self-regulatory initiatives in the media space to resolve this and similar controversial situations. 

As IMI reported, on November 28, State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) has launched crimininal proceedings over the video shot by the  editor-in-chief of Yuriy Butusov. Investigators consider a video posted on November 27 by Yuriy Butusov on his Facebook page, showing him firing a howitzer.

In the video, the journalist fires a 152-mm D-20 howitzer with the words: "Fire on the occupiers!" Yuriy Butusov later added that the video was shot a long time ago and during a training.

For his part, Yuri Butusov found that in this way, the President Volodymyr Zelensky took revenge on him "for his shameful press conference."

As IMI reported, on November 26, the President Volodymyr Zelensky accused the editor-in-chief of of deaths in Donbas due to publication of a video of a Bayraktar drone. Yuriy Butusov replied to the head of state, saying he lied.

After the press marathon, Yuriy Butusov said he would sue the President Volodymyr Zelensky for slander.

As IMI reported, on November 29, Oleksiy Arestovych, the speaker of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group and a supernumerary adviser to the head of the President's Office, believes that editor-in-chief Yuriy Butusov could be killed, so he will ask for state protection for the journalist. According to Arestovych, Yuriy Butusov was "planned as another Gongadze." “... Butusov is being driven up as a sacred victim, he has already been planned as another Gongadze.(…) And this, according to the plan, will be a signal to start mass riots, amid a sincere indignation of citizens. And all this against the background of the build-up of Russian troops at the border. Is the scenario clear, isn’t ? The perfect ball game for Russia.”

Yuriy Butusov said he did not yet received proposals for state protection, but he won’t going to accept it, if proposed. Butusov claimed that he could not accept protection from government agencies, from those from whom the threat comes.

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