Media community urges president to respond publicly to obstruction of journalists' work by an employee of his Office
Українською читайте тут.
The "Media for a Conscious Choice" Media Movement and other media representatives express concern over the new trend in the treatment of journalists by the Presidential Office staff.
Thus, at least three journalists from Ukrainian and foreign media reported that they had recently been confronted with the unethical and aggressive behavior of presidential press secretary Yulia Mendel, who had pushed them away, in particular to limit the possibility of asking the President questions. These were, particularly, Natalia Shymkiv of Livyi Bereh, Christopher Miller and Serhiy Andrushko of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
In all the cases mentioned above, actions aimed at restricting journalists' access to the President were not carried out by state security officials which testifies to the absence of threats to his security, but namely the presidential press secretary Yulia Mendel. Such actions can be regarded as having signs of obstruction towards the legitimate professional activity of journalists. And the reference of Yulia Mendel in her explanation on Facebook that, allegedly, her actions against Andrushko were dictated in particular by the fact that, as we quote, “The media insist, but do not attack. Because the personal space of the first person is his/her safety. It is especially important to realize this after 2017, when, posing as a journalist of a well-known media, an assassin shot a volunteer in Kyiv, after the publication of the complete video by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty look like blasphemy, because she was obviously aware that Andrushko did not "pose as" a journalist.
We draw the attention of President Volodymyr Zelenskyi to the fact that open communication with journalists is not only a sign of democratic authority, but also its duty. In view of the recurrence of cases of unethical treatment of journalists by the Presidential Office's staff and the People's Servant faction members of parliament, we call on the Zelenskyi's team to establish more constructive media relations. We have to point out that the reaction of the authorities to the previous incidents showed their incomplete understanding of the role of independent media in society and their lack of readiness to normalize relations with the journalistic community.
We urge President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi personally to respond publicly to the threatening tendency in obstruction of the work of journalists and the media by the staff of the Presidential Office.
"Media for a Conscious Choice" Media Movement
The declaration has been supported by:
Mass Information Institute
The Ukrainian Week
Donetsk Information Institute
Regional Press Development Institute
Institute for Democracy Pylyp Orlyk
Human Rights Center ZMINA
Center of civic initiatives "Skhidna brama" NGO
Mariupol Association of Entrepreneurs NGO
Activist Group "Mariupol Volunteer Center"
Commitee of IMTUU (Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine)
Oleksandr Shulha (Pavlohrad)
Public Organization "Association of Documentary Film Maker "Babylon 13""
Ihor Voytsekhovskyi (Pavlohrad)
Tetiana Verba (Pavlohrad)
Editorial team of periodical "Ukrainian Reporter"
Dmytro Olkhovyi (Pavlohrad)
The declaration is open for signing. You can join it by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and surename.
The "Media for a Conscious Choice" Media Movement was created on February 5, 2019. The first signatories to the Media Movement's memorandum were UA: Pershyi, Ukrainian Radio, Hromadske Radio [Public Radio], Ukrinform IA, Interfax-Ukraine IA, Liga.net, Dzerkalo Tyzhnya. Ukraine, Novoye Vremya, Censor.Net, Channel 5, The Ukrainian Week, Opinion, a number of regional media, NGOs Independent Media Council, Detector Media, Mass Information Institute, Internews Ukraine, Center for Democracy and Rule of Law, Souspilnist Foundation, the Independent Association of Broadcasters, the Donetsk Institute of Information, the Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy, the Zmina Human Rights Center and other organizations, individual journalists - over 70 participants in total. You can join or support the Media Movement by contacting its Coordinator Vadym Myskiy: email@example.com.
We would like to remind that Yulia Mendel, the press-secretary of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi, tried to push aside the journalist of the program "Schemes: corruption in details" Serhiy Andrushko, who wanted to ask the head of state and the head of the Presidential Office, Andrii Bohdan, a question. The president's spokesperson advised journalists "not to attack the delegation for the sake of a beautiful picture." Subsequently, two more journalists reported obstruction by Yulia Mendel: Christopher Miller, journalist at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Natalia Shimkiv journalist of Livyi Bereh.