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While we were showing the UAF's success to the world, OC "South" press service was giving interviews threatening to strip all journalists who got to Kherson of accreditation – Safarov

17.11.2022, 12:54
Photo: Azad Safarov
Photo: Azad Safarov

Local Sky News producer Azad Safarov spoke about trying to get to liberated Kherson and having his media stripped of accreditation. Azad Safarov wrote about this on Facebook.

According to him, on November 11, the day the Armed Forces liberated Kherson, his team was 20 km away from Kherson along with other media agencies and channels.

He and his colleagues called everybody who is in charge of the southern axis, but were told that they were not allowed to go to Kherson.

"We didn't need any exclusive content, we just needed not to miss the moment of sincere joy among the people meeting the UAF. On November 12, we realized that there was no point in waiting for a miracle from OC "South" any longer. Their press center managers are quite far from being experts on journalism and communications. Throughout the last months of the war, they have been talking to journalists as if they were local nobles giving audience to their servants. Every time I call their management, I have to listen to diatribes about what awful journalists we are, how we are hunting for exclusives, how everybody is under fire because of us, etc., etc. That is, these people are on the state's payroll, and instead of making use of the media to advertise the UAF and the country for free, they destroy all communication with the world with their own hands. With one hand they are asking the world to help us, and with the other they are destroying our communication with the world," Safarov stressed.

According to him, after being refused, he and his colleagues contacted the top officers directly; the officers agreed to take the media workers there right away.

"While we were showing the UAF's success to the world, OC "South" press service was giving interviews left and right, threatening to strip all journalists who got to Kherson of accreditation. To say that such actions reek of archaic Soviet incompetency is an understatement. In the pic, you can see the response from one of the heads of this area's press service: 'You have created tension in the media environment.' Seriously?? tension? Is that all you were able to come up with? The funniest thing is that on the same day as we and other journalists entered Kherson, OC "South" was also posting videos and photos from the city. But, of course, they were not creating media tension. Because surely they know more about communications than Sky News, CNN,, Ukrainska Pravda and others," Azad Safarov remarked.

He also pointed out that according to OC "South", Kherson was dangerous on November 12, and journalists were not allowed there, but that same press center took 300 journalists there as soon as November 14.

"And this is despite the fact that on November 14, you could still hear our artillery working in the city, and it was still mined by the ruscists," added Safarov.

He expressed gratitude to his colleagues and to the Institute of Mass Information for their support, adding that without them "there would be no backlash."

"All journalists – both foreign and Ukrainian – must receive their accreditation back. The cooperation with mass media must be clearly regulated: 1 accreditation for all kinds of work in Ukraine. There cannot be a hundred thousand additional permits, accreditations, emails, text messages, negotiations. This is simply nonsense. No one should be putting spokes in the work of the media," wrote Azad Safarov.

In his comment to an IMI representative, he said that he appealed to both the military command and the country's leadership with the demand to restore the accreditation.

As IMI reported, several media representatives who had violated the rules of working in combat zones had their work permits revoked and their press cards invalidated by the Ministry of Defense. Namely, Hromadske journalists Anastasia Stanko and Mykola Pastyko, as well as some CNN and SkyNews journalists have been stripped of their accreditation. Suspilne and Hromadske's filming crews have also been working in Kherson after the liberation of the city. The Rada channel has also done a live stream from Kherson. "Ukrainska Pravda" photo correspondent Dmytro Larin and Telegraf UA photographer Yevheniy Zavhorondiy also reported being stripped of their UAF accreditation.

The General Staff noted that the order of the UAF Commander-in-Chief No. 73, dated 03.03.2022, is delivered to all media representatives as they are being given their press card.

On November 11, on the day Kherson was liberated, Operational Command "South" announced that mass media's access to settlements that were de-occupied in November 2022 would be temporarily restricted.

"Please note that work in the settlements located in the combat zone is regulated by the order of the UAF Commander-in-Chief No. 73, dated 03.03.2022; non-compliance with this order may become grounds for a journalist's accreditation being revoked. These settlements will be accessible no sooner than the defense forces complete stabilization efforts," the military stressed.

Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Hanna Malyar, said that the ban and restrictions on the entry/exit of civilians and even journalists to the liberated Ukrainian cities are due to safety precautions. She also reminded that there is a procedure for accredited journalists to work under martial law.

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