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Police opened proceedings against CJE, based on complaint from “Journalists against Corruption”

08.02.2021, 14:12

On January 26, police of Volyn region opened the criminal proceedings against the Commission of Journalism Ethics and its chairman Andriy Kulikov, based on the complaint filed by the chief editor of news agency "Journalists against Corruption" and head of the ONG "National Union of Independent Journalists of Ukraine" Serhiy Kot, as “Detector Media” reported.

The case is registered in the Unified Register of Pre-trial Decisions under Art. 171 (obstruction of professional activity of journalists), Art. 206 (counteraction to lawful economic activity) and Art. 355 (coercion to fulfill or non-fulfillment of civil law obligations) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. This case has already been sent to Kyiv for investigation.

Serhiy Kot complained about the decision of the Commissionon Journalism Ethics of December 29, 2020, which condemned him publicly, called for him to stop granting press cards to the persons who did not practiced journalism, as well as to stop the campaign to attract such "journalists".".

Andriy Kulikov told that law enforcement officers had not yet informed him about the case, so he could not comment  it on. "This is not a big surprise for me, knowing Mr. Kot's activities, seeing and hearing what he was saying for a couple of times," he added.

Kulikov and the CJE member Svitlana Ostapa said not to recall that someone had previously appealed against the commission's decision to the police, only to the court.

As reported by IMI, Artem Shevchenko, Director of the Communications Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said that law enforcement officers would check the information provided in the statement of the Council on Freedom of Speech and Protection of Journalists under the President of Ukraine.

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.

On January 27, the Commission on Journalistic 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 Romanyuk 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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