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Media Movement says the amended Decree No.73 on media accreditation raises a lot of questions

02.03.2023, 10:41
Photo: Stas Yurchenko. Graty
Photo: Stas Yurchenko. Graty

The Media Movement says the amended UAF Commander-in-Chief's Decree No.73 regarding journalist accreditation rules raises a lot of questions, "Detector Media" reports.

On March 1, the Ministry of Defense announced amendments to the UAF Commander-in-Chief's Decree No.73 "On the organization of cooperation between the Armed Forces of Ukraine, other components of the Defense Forces, and mass media representatives under martial law."

The changes were made in accordance with Decree No. 49 dated February 27, 2023. The report by the Ministry of Defense said that they had taken into account the recommendations by the NUJU and media organizations.

However, the Media Movement representatives informed the DM that despite the UAF, the General Staff, and the President's Office having held two workshops with journalists and specialized NGO's after the scandal around many international and domestic media being stripped of accreditation for working in de-occupied Kherson, most of their suggestions were not taken into account.

The head of the Supervisory Board of the National Public Television Company of Ukraine, "Detector Media" deputy editor-in-chief Svitlana Ostapa noted that she had attended both meetings. At them, "all the issues that formed the basis of the Media Movement's statement were once again laid out." "Representatives of the authorities and the UAF promised us constructive cooperation to fix all these issues. They even wanted to create a joint task force. But in the end, today we are reading the new accreditation rules, and journalists have many questions again. Media experts believe that these rules will be detrimental to the work of the media. I think that if a disease is not completely cured, it can turn into a chronic one. We must respect each other's work, we must not allow confrontation between journalists and the military. We are all working for Victory," Ostapa said.

The executive director of the Institute of Mass Information, Oksana Romaniuk, believes that even the amended Decree No.73 lacks a key point – a distinction between permission to film and permission to publish.

"I have many questions that I believe should have been discussed before the amendments to this order were published. It is a pity that only one of our proposals was taken into account – the creation of the green, yellow, and red zones, albeit not in the way that we had proposed. I did not see one of the key points which we had discussed with the military: the separation of the permission to film and the permission to publish. A journalist should not be sanctioned for collecting content, but for publishing it in violation of the established procedure. If this issue were fixed, most of the difficulties in the interaction between the media and the military would be resolved," Romaniuk said.

In her opinion, the criteria and mechanisms for the new decree's functioning raise a many questions.

"How will the zones be outlined? Going back to the six-month deadline for issuing accreditations, which is the way it used to be before Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, also raises questions. Back then, the front line looked different and there were much fewer journalists. We need a clear deadline for issuing accreditations, because now journalists are waiting a month and a half to get it," said Romaniuk.

The IMI executive directorsays that a task force at the PO is needed to fix the issues of journalists working under martial law – a need for which has been voiced by the media community repeatedly, both in public and in private.

Natalia Humenyuk, the head of the OC "South" press center, refused to comment on the amendments to Decree No. 73.

"Since this is a decree by the Commander-in-Chief, it is better you get an explanation or comment at the appropriate level – from the General Staff or the Strategic Committee of the Armed Forces. Because we just got it and are just starting to implement it. I can't comment on it yet, as I don't know how it will work yet, and not all issues have been agreed upon yet," Humenyuk said.

As IMI reported, on February 27, amendments were made to UAF Commander-in-Chief's Decree No. 73 regarding engagement with the mass media during martial law. According to the amendments, journalists will only receive accreditation for a period of up to six months, and the frontline area will now be divided into three access zones for media workers: green, yellow, and red.

Earlier, representatives of the media community proposed to create a task force at the President's Office to improve the way their engagement with the military is regulated, and submitted their proposals on improving communication between journalists and the military to the UAF General Staff.

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