Shufrych’s Committee on Freedom of Speech qualified as obstruction search at “1+1” and journalists’ homes
The parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech called search at the offices “1+1” TV Channel and in its journalists' homes obstruction to journalistic professional activity. On that point, the committee appealed to the Head of the Security Service Ivan Bakanov. The committee adopted such a decision at its extraordinary meeting on February 6, as Detektor Media reported.
If the SBU does not respond to the Committee's request, its members will contact the Prosecutor General's Office.
At the committee meeting, the journalists with “1+1” said that during the search, the SBU officers have seized two system units in the office, and at home of the journalist Denys Danko, they seized wedding photos, a tablet PC and three flash drives.
Before the members of the Freedom of Speech Committee, the lawyer with “1+1” Serhiy Zdorovets told that the SBU searches impeded work of journalists, and due to the seizure of the system blocks, on February 5, several footages could not be aired.
Serhiy Zdorovets added, the “1+1” TV channel is going to seize the court for that ruling that served as grounds for searching. Because, in his opinion, that ruling provided quite wide-ranging powers to seize the equipment. "The article 168 of the Code of Criminal Procedure establishes the obligation to copy, not to seize, the equipment," he said.
Denis Danko said that during a search of his home, they had seized his wedding photos, a tablet PC and three USB drives. At home of another journalist Yevgen Kuksin, they did not seize anything, but he is stupefied with the actions of law enforcement officers: “First, I am blown away. Secondly, they did not leave any protocol after the search. ”
Yevgeny Kuksin stressed that the law enforcers had violated the presumption of innocence: "I was asked to rpvide the device I used to record Honcharuk." At the same time, he rhetorically asked how a journalist without any accreditation could attend a closed session of the government.
And Denys Danko added: "Do you think that we are such a cool journalist that we can plant a “bug” in Honcharuk's office?"
"In a country at war, I am scared to live with such a security service," Maksym Shylenko, Director of the “1+1” Department of Journalistic Investigatiions, said. He supposed that the counterintelligence department, which conducted the search, had to prevent the first person in the state from being wiretapped.
Deputy Head of the SBU Chief Investigation Department Vitaly Mayakov stressed that no SBU official has said that journalists were suspected of being involved in the crime. "About a dozen searches were conducted yesterday, but people had an adequate reaction to it, because this was done in connection with criminal investigations," he said. "Search have been done in compliance with the law in force. If there is some tip on eventual threat, the relevant unit is to be involved in. But this unit did not beat anyone, did not shoot at anyone. If it was called to be at the spot somewhere, this was needed to prevent possible negative effects on members of the investigation team."
According to Mayakov, before the search was conducted, investigators could establish the place, where to find the elements on the basis of which the crime could be resolved. "When sufficiently information was obtained, the investigator appealed to the prosecutor and the examining judge. After having evaluated the proportionality of intrusion into privacy and protection of public interests, the judge concluded on necessity of the search. We do not blame “1+1” TV channel. This was not TV broadcaster that was searched, but the search was conducted at the working places and homes of some journalists who cooperate with the TV channel. Mayakov added, that no charge has been pressed to anyone.
He also admitted that the law enforcers verified authenticity of the audio records at the office of Oleksiy Honcharuk According to him, "this meeting and this conversations have taken place. At what extent they are fully and authentically presented in mass media, we are to find out this issue."
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.