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Law enforcers to verify, whether trade of press cards took place

01.02.2021, 12:12
National Police
National Police

The law enforcement bodies are to verify facts of issuance of press cards by the NGO "Journalists Against Corruption" to persons who do not perform journalistic activities, as it was set forth in the letter of the Council for Freedom of Speech and Protection of Journalists under the President of Ukraine. Artem Shevchenko, Director of the Communications Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said it in a comment to Ukrinform news agency. 

"Of course, we will consider this matter, it will be duely registered and we will evaluate it in detail and check all the facts and, if it is well-grounded, we will qualify it as appropriate. That is, we will react in accordance with the requirements of current legislation, " Shevchenko said.

Earlier, the Presidential Council for Freedom of Speech and Protection of Journalists alerted the National Police as to eventual violations of legislation and ethics by certain organizations and legal entities registered as media outlets, pointing at an illegal issuance of press cards and abuse of journalist status.

"We call on the National Police to immediately investigate the activities of the “Journalists Against Corruption” NGO and other persons mentioned in the Statement of Journalistic Ethics on the illegal issuance of press cards and abuse of journalist status and to inform the Office of the President and the Freedom of Speech Council of the results of the investigation." , - it is emphasized in the statement.

In particular, as to the CJE, it was a question of the NGO "Journalists Against Corruption" organization that issued journalistic press cards in exchange for "membership fees" to persons who did not perform any journalistic activities and did not adhere to the ethical norms of the profession.

As reported by IMI, on January 27, The Commission on Journalism Ethics (CJE) applied to the police and the Ministry of Justice with request to verify the activity held by the “Journalists against Corruption” news agency and newspaper, the National Union of Independent Journalists of Ukraine, the “Tavriya News” news agency, the “Liga Inform” newspaper, and the “Business Companion” magazine for forgery of documents, abuse of the rights of a journalist, obtaining a certificate of state registration under a false pretense, as this is said in the statement signed by the Commission on Journalism Ethics, made public on January 27.

As IMI reported, on January 24, 2021, the Media Movement called on the National Police to immediately investigate the actions of the NGO "Journalists Against Corruption" and to refrain from persecuting activists for comments in mass media..

On January 21, 2021, we learnt that the National Police had instituted criminal proceedings against Oksana Romaniuk, a member of the “Media Movement” and executive director of the Institute of Mass Information, on a claim filed by Serhiy Kot, the head of the “Journalists Against Corruption”. On December 31, 2020, Serhiy Kot filed the complaint for the comments of Mrs Romaniuk published by “Detektor Media” about the trade in press cards issued by the NGO “Journalists Against Corruption”. Serhiy Kot blamed the media expert for consiously untruthfull reporting about the crime (Article 383 of the Criminal Code).

The website of the NGO "Journalists Against Corruption" posted the message that proposed to issue press card to anyone for the payment of membership fees, and this person instead was to take part in public events of the organization and publish at least one article per month.

On December 29, 2020, the Commission on Journalim Ethics publicly condemned the editor-in-chief of news agency "Journalists against Corruption" Serhiy Kot and demanded to stop granting non- journalistic status to non-journalists and to stop the advertising campaign to attract such "journalists".

This is said in the decision of the CJE of December 29 on Serhiy Kot's complaint against the publication "Journalists against Corruption" goes on trading journalistic press cards" ("Detector Media") of December 3 and" Police must respond to the press cards traffic - Oksana Romanyuk " (The Institute of Mass Information) of December 3, 2020.

On December 21, 2017, the Commission on Journalism Ethics recommended the persons who applied to adhere to such public organizations, in particular as the NGO “Journalists against Corruption”, first to inquire and to check whether they have been registered as it is prescribed by law, whether they have the right to issue press cards, in order to avoid eventual violations of journalists' rights and misleading as to the status and scope of legal guarantees. 

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