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Portnov sues hromadske

15.02.2024, 17:57

Former deputy head of the presidential administration, Andriy Portnov, is sueing hromadske for their investigation "How they mugged Crimea from us: exclusive records", reports the media outlet.

In the lawsuit, Portnov claims that Yaroslava Volvach, head of the outlet's investigative journalism department, called him a "pro-Russian figure, collaborator, traitor, Russia's henchman." Portnov also says the journalists alleged that "the plaintiff oversaw the occupation of Crimea in Russia's interest."

According to the plaintiff, this means that the journalists "reported that A. V. Portnov had committed treason."

"Seeing as this information is false and defames Andriy Volodymyrovych Portnov, the plaintiff has appealed to the court with a corresponding lawsuit in order to protect his rights," the statement of claim reads.

At the same time, the author of the investigation, Yaroslava Volvach, called Portnov's allegations manipulative.

"I did not claim that Portnov was a collaborator, a traitor or a pro-Russian figure, I just asked a question: can he be considered that? My first reason for this was to highlight the absurdity of the Pechersk District Court's judgement, which sided with Portnov in the lawsuit against the 'Anti-Corruption Center' and forbade the use of these words in relation to him. As for the key issue that Portnov avoids in his lawsuit, it is the tapes that testify to his possible involvement in processes related to the occupation of Crimea, and this issue should be examined by the law enforcement," said the journalist.

Portnov also believes that the outlet's investigation was commissioned by somebody.

However, the author of the investigation notes that almost all media outlets advertise their content on social media.

"Andriy Portnov's allegations that we were paid for the material sound very serious, but are in fact based on us promoting the post about the investigation on hromadske's Facebook page. Nearly all media outlets do this to promote their own content. So these suspicions are simply ridiculous," explained Yaroslava Volvach.

The media outlet remarks that they released the investigation on December 27, 2023, and it is based on audio recordings from around 2014.

Portnov's other lawsuits against media

On December 13, 2023, Portnov won the lawsuit against media outlets that listed him in an article on "collaborators" and "traitors" in first instance.

The Pechersk District Court of Kyiv ordered the Anti-Corruption Action Centre and several media outlets to refute the information they previously reported about him.

The article in question was written by the Anti-Corruption Action Centre and titled "Collaborators, traitors, Russia's henchmen: whose assets Ukraine has not seized yet"; it was released by "Ukrainian Pravda" on their website. The article was reposted by "Focus" and shared by the AntAC Telegram channel.

In the lawsuit, Portnov noted that on July 24, 2023, the defendants spread "misinformation" about him by alleging that he was a "pro-Russian figure, a collaborator, a traitor, Russia's henchman who should be subject to target sanctions and have his assets confiscated according to the Law of Ukraine 'On Sanctions'".

In March 2023 the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv judged in favour of Andriy Portnov in his defamation lawsuit against "Skhemy", NV, Hromadske, Pryamiy and Channel 5.

The court called the media outlets' reports about Portnov's alleged involvement in setting fire to the car of the "Skhemy" driver Borys Mazur "unreliable" and ordered the media outlets to refute it. According to the court, these reports "create the impression of Portnov as a criminal."

The court considers that Portnov "has been working in journalism" for many years, therefore sharing such information "negatively affects the public assessment of his person in the eyes of others."

In October 2019, Portnov posted the private data of Borys Mazur, the driver for the "Skhemy" program, in his Telegram channel. The editors regarded this as direct pressure and believed the arson had to do with the fact that Portnov had previously leaked the private data of the driver. On August 17, 2020, unknown persons set Mazur's car on fire.

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