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Media professionals urged authorities and “1+1” to refrain from manipulations and to respect the law

06.02.2020, 21:00
Photo credit: Screenshot from the video taken by Volodymyr Tymofiychuk
Photo credit: Screenshot from the video taken by Volodymyr Tymofiychuk

Media NGOs called on the SBU to refrain from excessive interference in mass media activities and “1 + 1” broadcaster to cooperate with law enforcement. “Detektor Media” published the full text of the statement:

On February 5, the Security Service of Ukraine conducted a search at the premises of "1 + 1" TV channel. The mass media reported that the search was conducted based on the court decision issued as part of a criminal investigation into the illegal use of technical devices used for dissimulated recording of information, namely the publication  dated of January 15 of transcripts of wiretapping of the meeting held by the Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk. The SBU emphasized that the search did nothing to do with TV broadcaster’s activity, but it did only some suspected persons, and is conducted in the places of possible installation, storage and distribution of audio recordings which ahd been obtained illegally.

The channel press service said to be outraged at the fact that "the first ever since independence of Ukraine search conducted at " 1 + 1 Media "and said that they searched the editorial office of the “Hroshi” (Money) program. The press service said, the search would be related to" program investigative activity" and claimed it was "total violation of journalistic immmunity and pressure on independent media". Then, the journalist of the program" Secretmi Matrerialy" Volodymyr Tymofiichuk said that the search was made in the studio of this program. Eralier, its creative director was actual MP from the party “Servant of the people” Oleksander Dubinsky.

Given the public attention and the eventual threat to freedom of speech, the media professionals are closely following last developments. Freedom of speech has been, and remains a social value that we have defended and will defend in the future. And mass media not only can, but must use all legitimate methods of obtaining and disseminating information on abuses of politicians and officials. Journalists have the right to gather (including from anonymous sources), to keep and disseminate information, if it is of public mportance. Thus, we look forward that the Security Service of Ukraine will investigate and subsequently disclose information about who directly wiretapped talks and, probably, edited it. And we urge the Security Service of Ukraine to comply strictly with the law and to avoid excessive interference with mass media activity.

At the same time, we emphasize that the status of a journalist cannot be used to avoid an investigation. We call on the suspects and the TV channel to cooperate with law enforcement agencies. If the guilt is proved, those who infringed the the law should be held accountable, regardless of their type of activity.

We also believe that in this case, the published conversation did not contain any information that would indicate the eventuality of involvement of its actors in criminal activity. So, it had no public importance, but it only contributed to fomenting the conflict inside the authorities and society. We urge all journalists to refrain from such actions in the future.

In addition, it should be noted that Oleksander Dubinsky, as well as the programs he presented ("Hroshi") and produced ("Secretni Materialy", "Ukrainski Sensatsii"), do not meet high ethical standards of journalism. In particular, they have been repeatedly seen in lobbying the interests of Ihor Kolomoysky and  in criticism of the oligarch's opponents. Thus, they cannot serve of the status of "independent investigative journalists".

Signed by:

Detector Media

Institute of Mass Information

Hromadske Radio

Ukrainian Foundation for Security Studies

As IMI reported, on February 5, the SBU officers searched the office of the “Secretni Materialy” project at “1+1” TV channel at 18 Kurenivska Street in Kyiv.

The “1 + 1 Media” group claimed that the SBU was conducting a search of the premises of the Money program and stated that that incident was "total violation of journalistic immmunity and pressure on independent media ".

On February 5, the Head of the Security Service Ivan Bakanov said that search at premises of “1 + 1” TV channel were due to investigation in the case of illegal wiretapping of the Prime Minister Oleksiy Goncharuk. He added that measure was not aiming to make pressure on journalists of “1 + 1” broadcaster, nor to crack down freedom of speech in Ukraine.

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