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Media Movement calls to conduct public audit of union of journalists membership

09.12.2021, 12:21

We, members of the Media Movement, make a stand against the issuance of press cards to the third parties. Such a practice erodes credibility to the profession, encourages corruption and complicates the protection of the rights of real journalists.

The reason for this appeal was the statement of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) about the actions of the National Police, which tried to gain access to the list of members of regional organizations of the Union of Vinnytsya and Ternopil regions.

Thus, on December 2, a representative of the police in Vinnytsya region presented a court ruling to the head of the local NUJU organization with permission to seize copies of the organization's papers. In compliance with that decision a pre-trial investigation was opened on August 27 on the grounds of a criminal offense under Part 1 of Art. 366 of the Criminal Code ("falsification of official documents”). 

And since December 3, the police in the Ternopil region addressed the head of the Ternopil regional organization of the NUJU with a letter requiring to provide information about members of the NUJU who are registered in the region. 

In its statement, the NUJU also negatively mentionned the Vinnytsia investigative journalist, calling his report on the "issuance of certificates" written in early August a "denunciation on the Internet ." 

Earlier, the regional branches of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine repeatedly issued “Press” certificates to non-journalists. Such cases were recorded in VolynKherson, and Odesa regions (in the latter case, afterwards, the press card was invalidated). 

That is why the Media Movement cannot show solidarity with the NUJU and support the statements about the "attack on freedom of speech." At the same time, we call on the police to adhere strictly to procedural law and to limit themselves to minimal interference with the activity of journalistic organizations, in particular in terms of requesting information and documents.
We call on the editorial offices and organizations of journalists, in particular the NUJU, to be more transparent. We call for a public audit of the membership of the NUJU and all its organizations. Mostly (except in cases of undercover work during dangerous investigations or work in the occupied territories) journalistic work is public, the names of journalists are widely known, and membership in a media organization should not be a secret. In January 2021, the Commission on Journalism Ethics has already called on a number of organizations to immediately stop the illegal issuance of press cards and abuse of journalist status.

CJE applied with a request to the National Police of Ukraine to check the published facts for signs of forgery, abuse of journalist rights, obtaining a certificate of state registration by deception for the following registered media: news agency "Journalists Against Corruption" (registration certificate IA KV 568-420R from 11.10. 2017), the newspaper “Journalists against Corruption” (certificate of registration of the newspaper KV № 22939-12839R dated 06.10.2017), NGO “National Union of Independent Journalists of Ukraine”, news agency “Tavria News” (certificate of registration of KV 189-52R dated 02.06. 2009, the newspaper “Liga Inform” (certificate of registration of KV 22818-12718R dated 07.08.2017), the magazine “Business Companion” (certificate of registration of KV 12384-1268PR dated 15.03.2017) and asked to provide the Commission on Journalism Ethics with a list of persons, who during the years from 2017 to 2021, had issued a permit to posssess weapons as journalists for these media.

For reference

Media Movement is a community that brings together journalists from leading Ukrainian media, investigative journalists and experts from media NGOs. 

Media Movement "Media for Conscious Choice" was launched on February 5, 2019. The first signatories of the Media Movement memorandum were UA: Pershiy, Ukrayinske Radio, Hromadske Radio, IA Ukrinform, IA Interfax-Ukraine, Liga.net, “Dzerkalo Tyzhnia. Ukraine”, NV,“ Censor.Net ”, Channel 5,“ Ukrainsky Tyzhden”, Opinion, a number of regional media, Independent Media Council, NGOs “Detector Media”, The“Institute of Mass Information”,“ Internews Ukraine ”,“ Center for Democracy and the Rule of Law ”,“ Suspilnist” Foundation ”,“ National Media Association ”,“ Donetsk Institute of Information ”,“ Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy ”,“ Zmina Human Rights Center ”and other organizations, individual journalists - more than 70 participants in total.

On November 16, 2021, representatives of the prominent media called on journalists to unite themselves inside the professional community to resist political and commercial pressure on freedom of speech. The statement was initiated by 29 journalists and experts, whose names are available at the link

Today, the unification of the two initiatives is under way. The full list of members of the renewed organization will be opened immediately after the formalization of the Media Movement. Currently, the initiators of the movement are developing the rules of the organization, its organizational structure and internal regulations.

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