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"Poltavska Khvylia" journalist says two officials threatened her at a session

29.03.2023, 16:28
Photo: Anastasia Matsko on Facebook
Photo: Anastasia Matsko on Facebook

Anastasia Matsko, a journalist at the online publication "Poltava Wave", says that district council deputy, Serhiy Boyko, and the head of the welfare inspection, Maksym Malko, threatened her during the March 29 City Council session.

The media worker reported this to an IMI representative.

She said that both officials approached her during the session. Boyko started threatening physical violence upon her, using obscene language.

"As soon as the session started, Serhiy Boyko, Deputy Chairman of the Podilsky District Council, approached me and sat down next to me. Maksym Malko, head of the PCC Welfare Inspection, sat down by my other side. Boyko started threatening physical violence upon me. Like 'girl, you've been too talkative,'" said Anastasia Matsko to the IMI representative.

According to her, Malko joined in on the threats, rudely telling her to keep quiet.

The journalist asked the officials to explain their behavior, but she did not understand the accusations. Matsko added that Boyko only mentioned some videos allegedly made by her. From this, the journalist concluded that the threats have to do with her journalistic work specifically.

"He promised that he would 'explain in detail' what accusations he had against me without witnesses. Maksym Malko sided with him. They told me nothing further. And all this was happening at the City Council. The current deputy chair of the district council and the welfare director allow themselves such statements. The threats, as was clear, have to do with my job: they did not like some of the videos made by me. Or at least they thought they were made by me," Anastasia said.

The journalist also added that the threats continued after the session,  in the City Council hall, with deputies and journalists present.

The journalist filed a statement to the police afterwards. "It was classified as obstruction of journalistic activity and death threats. I am waiting for a call. It is difficult to comment anything, because I am reluctant to believe that officials and communal institution directors who actually take part in running the city can freely threaten physical violence upon a journalist, in the City Council building, in the presence of deputies, the press, and the public. This is not an isolated case, but a tried-and-true communication model. I hope the police will react appropriately," said Matsko.

Video by Poltavska Khvylia

In his comment to the IMI representative, Serhiy Boyko denied that he had threatened the journalist.

"Everything was not as they say. These are political maneuvers by Ivashchenko and Brazhnyk (Poltava City Council deputies who approached Boyko after the session to talk to him and defend Matsko. – Ed.), they blew this clownery up into a scandal, I don't know why. There is no video of the threats, no evidence. No one was threatening them. This is all far-fetched and overblown," Boyko said.

The deputy also denied saying "girl, you've been too talkative," as per Anastasia Matsko. "Look at me and at that girl, if I said that to Ivashchenko or Brazhnyk, that would be believable. But to such a small, fragile girl... whatever she may have done to me, I couldn't possibly say such a thing to her. I respect all women. I did not threaten Anastasia Matsko," Boyko said.

The deputy added that he was ready to come to the police, if he is summoned, and give an explanation regarding the incident.

Maksym Malko also denied the threats. "We were standing in the City Council hall; Mr. Ivashchenko, Mr. Brazhnyk, this girl, I don't know who she is, were coming out, there were also some journalists. Then, they approached Mr. Boyko, started arguing, shouting. That's all. Why threaten her, what for, these are all fantasies. There were 100% no threats to her," Maksym Malko told the IMI representative.

At the same time, Yehor Rud, a "Poltavska Khvylia" journalist, witnessed the incident. He hopes that the police will take appropriate measures regarding the situation.

"I was standing a meter away from Nastya. At first I didn't understand what was happening, because I was watching the session as it all unfolded. And then I just couldn't believe that I was hearing threats. Boyko and Malko sat down to talk things out in their typical manner. This is not the first time that a journalist was attacked. But it's the first time I've seen it done so brazenly. I hope the police will take measures, Yehor Rud told the IMI.

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