Investigative journalist in Zakarpattia reports pressure and doxxing following her article
Olena Mudra, an investigative journalist from Zakarpattia, reported doxxing and pressure related to her professional work. She has already filed a complaint with the police. She informed IMI about this.
According to Olena, the pressure began following her article about staff changes at the State Environmental Inspection in Zakarpattia oblast, which was published in Zakarpattia Online on March 6 under the headline "Former head of the Economy Protection Office and heir to an illegal construction project in Bukovel, Mykhailo Bank, is now head of SEI Zakarpattia."
Before the release of the article, the had journalist sent requests to the Zakarpattia SEI, asking the newly appointed head of the state eco-inspection to comment on the legal proceedings regarding his involvement in the acquisition of property and arbitrary construction on land illegally removed from communal and state ownership near the Bukovel resort. She also asked for the staff list of the state body's employees, which recently underwent significant personnel changes.
According to Olena Mudra, on March 9, after the article was published, an unknown Facebook user began posting discrediting content about her in the communities "Uzhhorod" and "Vynohradiv". The journalist says that the posts featured a distorted description of her professional work and details of her family life – namely the lives of her parents – which cannot be obtained from open sources.
Fearing for her life and health, Olena filed a complaint with the police for harassment intended to influence her and prevent her from performing her legal professional activities. On March 10, the inquiry sector of the Uzhhorod District Police Department of the National Police in Zakarpattia oblast submitted the report to the URPTI, classified under Article 171 Part 2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Article 171. Obstructing the legal professional activity of journalists).
Later, Olena Mudra added that the Facebook posts had been deleted. However, she provided IMI with screenshots of the posted text.
The journalist noted that she wanted to make the situation public, as her personal data and that of her parents had been collected by professionals to be shared with third parties. The latter exploited and distributed them to smear her reputation and intimidate her. "I want to draw people's attention to the problem that arises when those involved in investigations cross the reasonable line in their efforts to make a journalist shut up, give up their job or make them loyal. During the last year, to a lesser extent, and while meeting with the protagonists of my reports after their publication (to take a comment or upon their initiative), I have already experienced, let's say, 'softer' forms of pressure. However, after this incident, I am starting to worry that the next time might come to threats or violence," said Olena Mudra.
Screenshots provided by Olena Mudra
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