Freedom of Speech Barometer for August 2023
In July IMI experts recorded 10 crimes against freedom of speech in Ukraine. Six of them were committed by Russia and targeted media and journalists.
This is evidenced by the monthly monitoring "Freedom of Speech Barometer" by the Institute of Mass Information.
The crimes against media committed by Russia include firing at journalists, cyberattacks, destroying one outlet's office, and legal pressure.
At the same time, IMI recorded four freedom of speech violations for which Ukrainian citizens are responsible. These include obstruction, restricting access to public information, and legal pressure.
A Radio Liberty filming crew came under Russian fire in Donetsk oblast. The crew consisted of reporter Yevhenia Kytayiva, camerawoman Anna Kudryavtseva, and driver Volodymyr Yavniuk. The shelling damaged the car they were driving. The journalists were unharmed.
"Cheline" editorial office has been destroyed by a Russian missile hitting the premises of the Shevchenko Music and Drama Theater in the center of Chernihiv on August 19. According to Pavlo Solodovnyk, the editor of "Cheline", the team no longer has an office. The impact of the missile shattered the windows and doors and caused parts of the ceiling to collapse. The journalists' equipment – laptops, computers, cameras and microphones – was destroyed or damaged. However, there was no one in the office at the time of the shelling, so the employees were unharmed.
Furthermore, Russia has declared Ukrainian journalist Yanina Sokolova wanted. Yanina Sokolova responded to the news about being wanted with irony, noting that "I was already warrying that I'm not Russophobic enough. So I am glad they did it."
ZN.UA editors reported a Russian DDoS attack on their website on the night of August 9. The website was under attack for several hours, which prevented readers from accessing information. However, the outlet managed to repel the attack and restore the website.
Moreover, on the night of August 21, the Russians hacked the Telegram channel of the Ukrainian media outlet "RIA Melitopol", which continued to work even after Melitopol (Zaporizhia oblast) was occupied. The media posted the relevant statement on its website. The editors noted that "the ruscists are posting their shameful news on the TG channel, changed the channel's name to Russian and added a different profile picture."
A fake article purportedly written by Chernihiv journalist Iryna Synelnyk, who works with the news agency UNIAN, is being circulated on Facebook. The article was published on a clone of the outlet's page. It is being promoted on the social media platform through advertising. The article talks about the heavy losses of the Ukrainian army and the need to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The four freedom of speech violations for which Ukrainian citizens are responsible include obstruction, restricting access to public information, and legal pressure.
Cases of obstruction were recorded in Dnipro and Kyiv. In Kyiv, the head of the Obolon district court of Kyiv, Olena Zhezhera, barred "Watchers" journalist Alina Kondratenko from recording a hearing on audio or taking pictures.
The journalist had come to a trial in the case of a Russian citizen who stood accused of unauthorized spread of information about the transfer of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, the movement and location of UAF units. "I wanted to take a couple of photos and make a recording that I could later listen to and write an article," Alina said, adding that the hearing was open and there was no decision to hold it behind closed doors.
In Dnipro, the media outlet "Dnipro Operatyvny" received yet another email claiming that their office has been mined. However, the inspection found no explosives in the building. Earlier, in May, the editorial office had already received a similar email. Back then, the police found no explosives, either.
A case of restriction of access to public information was recorded in Zaporizhzhia. The Municipal Administration Department of the Zaporizhia City Council refused to provide Zaporizhzhia Center of Investigation journalists with the deeds on the completed road repair work in Zaporizhzhia, which was carried out from early July to late August 2023. The reason for the refusal was that such information could harm national security.
A "Volyn Online" journalist was subjected to legal pressure: the group of companies "Technotorg" filed a lawsuit against her for investigating the activities of the enterprises. The plaintiffs demand that the information be declared unreliable and defamatory and that the journalist pay UAH 750,000 as compensation for moral damage.
Firing at journalists – 1
30.08.2023 On August 30, a Radio Liberty filming crew came under rocket fire in the Donetsk oblast, the broadcaster reports on their website.
The incident happened while the crew (reporter Yevhenia Kytayiva and camerawoman Anna Kudryavtseva) was reporting. The group also included driver Volodymyr Yavniuk.
The shelling damaged the car they were driving. The crew was not injured.
RFE/RL notes that the journalists have recently joined their team as front-line correspondents. They have considerable experience working near the front line.
Anna Kudryavtseva has been filming at the front since 2014. Yevhenia Kytayiva has been working in combat areas since 2015. They have been working together for seven years.
Driver Volodymyr Yavniuk has been working with Radio Liberty since 2021.
Media offices destroyed – 1
19.08.2023 "Cheline" editorial office has been destroyed by a Russian missile hitting the premises of the Shevchenko Music and Drama Theater in the center of Chernihiv on August 19.
Pavlo Solodovnyk, the editor of "Cheline", reported this to the IMI representative in Chernihiv oblast.
According to him, the team no longer has an office.
"Our team no longer has the office where we emerged as an outlet and have worked for seven years. Fortunately, there was no one in the office on Saturday (the day of the shelling. – Ed.). Although we were invited to cover that unfortunate 'drone' event, we refused. Fortunately, all the staff members are alive," he said.
As you know, on August 19, around 11:30 a.m., the Russian army hit the center of Chernihiv with an Iskander-M missile at the regional music and drama theater. The Russian missile strike injured 163 people, killing seven and wounding 156 more.
The rooms rented by the team were located in the central part of Chernihiv, a few dozens of meters from the place where the Russian missile dropped.
The impact of the missile shattered the windows and doors and caused parts of the ceiling to collapse. The journalists' equipment – laptops, computers, cameras and microphones – was destroyed or damaged.
The "Cheline" team continues its work and has already rented another office.
"Now we are actively working to move to another office, salvaging things from under the rubble, people working from home, every now and then we go out to film. That is, we try to work fully for our readers and viewers. After all, we realize how important it is nowadays for people to receive information about the safety situation, news about the key events in the oblast and the country in general. Despite everything, we persevere and we continue our work," said Pavlo Solodovnyk.
As IMI reported, Arsen Chepurny, a reporter for the outlet "Chas Chernihivsky" was wounded in the arm when a Russian missile hit the Shevchenko Regional Music and Drama Theater in downtown Chernihiv on August 19. At the moment of the impact, he and the website's cameraman, Dmytro Falchevsky, were at the theater, which hosted the drone exhibition "Angry Birds Fly to Chernihiv".
Cybercrimes – 3
09.08.2023 ZN.UA editors report that their website was subjected to a Russian DDoS attack on the night of August 9.
This media outlet wrote this on the morning of August 9 on their Telegram channel.
The website was under attack for several hours, which prevented readers from accessing information.
As of 10 a.m., the website is already up and running.
As IMI reported, on March 16, 2023, the ZN.ua website was hacked.
21.08.2023 On the night of August 21, the Russians hacked the Telegram channel of the Ukrainian media outlet "RIA Melitopol", which continued to work even after Melitopol (Zaporizhia oblast) was occupied.
The media posted the relevant statement on its website. The editors noted that "the ruscists are posting their shameful news on the TG channel, changed the channel's name to Russian and added a different profile picture."
"Now we need support. We appeal to all mass media and Telegram channels, asking you to support us by spreading the word. Share the link to the new "RIA Melitopol" ("RIA South") TG channel: https://t.me/riamelitopolua," the editors wrote.
According to IMI's sources, the administrators of the "RIA Melitopol" ("RIA South") channel currently do not have access to the account. At the time of the attack, the sources add, the Telegram channel had 79,000 subscribers.
As of now, the editors have created a new Telegram channel and hope that all subscribers will switch to it and not succumb to the occupiers' propaganda. As of 2 a.m., the new Telegram channel already had over 14,000 subscribers.
According to Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov, the occupiers also hacked several other pro-Ukrainian Telegram channels which have been "tirelessly reporting the terrible truth about the life in the TOT while facing constant threats from the occupiers" since the first day of the war.
"Ruscists want to make reliable information unaccessible and force the people in the occupied territories to only consume their propaganda. [...] All the content you see on the channels now come from the enemy. The owners of the channels do not have access to the administration features. Please take care of your personal safety! Exit the hacked chats and unfollow the hacked newsgroups," Fedorov wrote on Telegram and suggested that people read the news of the occupied southern Ukraine on the "RIA Melitopol" ("RIA South") website and on their new Telegram channel.
28.08.2023 A fake article by Chernihiv journalist Iryna Synelnyk, who works with the news agency UNIAN, has been circulated on Facebook. The article was posted by a clone of the news outlet's page. It is being spread on the social media platform through advertising.
The journalist told the IMI representative in Chernihiv oblast about this.
According to Iryna, the article is signed with her name and talks about the heavy losses of the Ukrainian army and the need to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Recently we have seen a rise of fake websites of our national media outlets, which post articles that parrot Russian narratives, signed with the names of these outlets' journalists. The journalists, of course, do not know that their name has been exploited in this way. Such a thing happened to me. On Facebook, these articles are being circulated through advertising. The links to UNIAN publications end with '.html', but the fake link ends with '.php'. This is the distinction; the layout of the page is visually identical to the original," said Iryna Synelnyk.
Fact-checkers from the project "On the Other Side of the News" have pointed out that this Russian practice of spreading fakes through Facebook ads is becoming increasingly common.
"The news feed is literally drowning in paid-for posts labeled as 'advertising'. All of them sow conspiracy theories and outright lies. A brief recap: the Ukrainian government is mired in corruption, Western aid is 'going down the drain'; the military cannot resist the Russian missile barrage, therefore urgent negociations are needed; the new recruits are being sent to slaughter with no training," the project notes.
Besides UNIAN, fake pages of "Obozrevatel" and "RBC-Ukraine" have been encountered, report the fact-checkers.
The algorithm for creating fakes is as follows: take a well-known website and make a carbon copy of its layout and title, but with a different domain name.
For example, the fake website that pretends to be "Obozrevatel" has the domain ".ltd", while the real one has ".com". After posting fake content with signatures of real employees, they actively distribute the articles in the Ukrainian segment of Facebook through the advertising algorithm.
Chernihiv journalist Iryna Synelnyk, whose name was used to promote Russian narratives in this way, told IMI that she had already contacted the Security Service of Ukraine about this.
As IMI reported, a fake website imitating the media outlet "Ukrainian Pravda" appeared on the Internet in April. "Ukrainian Pravda" contacted the SBU with a request to address the spread of a fake column by the journalist, military officer Pavlo Kazarin, done by unknown persons through a fake website.
In March, 2023, the editors of RBC Ukraine filed a statement with the cyberpolice over website forgery and a fake article criticizing the UAF Commander-in-Chief, Valery Zaluzhny. In June 2022, the RBC-Ukraine reported that some criminals were posing as their editorial office to advertise a survey with which RBC-Ukraine had nothing to do on social media. Back then, the RBC-Ukraine contacted the National Police, the Security Service of Ukraine, and the Ministry of Digital Transformation regarding this issue.
"Obozrevatel" and "Ukrinform" have also reported having their websites cloned.
Legal pressure – 1
07.08.2023 The Russian MIA has declared Ukrainian journalist Yanina Sokolova wanted, reports the Russian propaganda media TASS, citing the Russian MIA database.
"Yanina Mykhailivna Sokolova is wanted under an article of the Criminal Code," the wanted persons database says.
In March, the Rosfinmonitoring added Sokolova to the list of "terrorists and extremists".
We remind you that Yanina Sokolova is a Ukrainian journalist, TV presenter, author of the show "Rendez-Vous" on Channel 5 and the host of her own YouTube project "Evening with Yanina Sokolova".
THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH SITUATION IN UKRAINE FOR WHICH UKRAINIAN CITIZENS ARE RESPONSIBLE
Obstruction – 2
09.08.2023 The media outlet "Dnipro Operatyvny" received yet another email claiming that their office has been mined. However, upon inspection, no explosives were found in the building.
Olesya Antoshkina, the editor-in-chief of "Dnipro Operatyvny", commented to the IMI representative in Dnipro oblast about this.
According to her, this is not the first time that the editors received such a letter.
"Nothing new. An email arrived to the spam folder demanding 170 bitcoins from Malyuk (head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Vasyl Malyuk – Ed.). The police come, do their paperwork and leave. Everyone in the office is already used to it and doesn't react in any way," said Olesya Antoshkina.
She added that she does not know why their outlet has been chosen as a target. Olesya Antoshkina noted that the email about the mining has been received by many other addressees. The email also lists the objects that allegedly have been mined.
On August 9, the Dnipro City Council said in their usual morning brief on the events of the day that there were two emails about planted explosives.
"The police has conducted an external inspection of the premises of 154 kindergartens, the SBU office and the building of the "Dnipro Operatyvny" office. They have also inspected the premises of the city administration, 58 shopping malls, 8 district courts and the airport," the City Council reported.
As IMI reported, on May 21, 2023, "Dnipro Operatyvny" received a letter about the alleged bombing of the editorial office. Then the police did not find explosives either. The extorted sum was the same – 170 bitcoins. Over 400 facilities in the city were claimed to have been "mined".
29.08.2023 "Watchers" journalist Alina Kondratenko reports that the head of the Obolon district court of Kyiv, Olena Zhezhera, barred her from recording a hearing on audio or taking pictures.
The incident happened on August 29, Alina Kondratenko tells IMI.
According to the journalist, she was allowed to attend the trial, but was forbidden to record it.
"I wanted to take a couple of photos and make a recording that I could later listen to and write an article," Alina said, adding that the hearing was open and there was no decision to hold it behind closed doors.
The journalist had come to a trial in the case of a Russian citizen who stood accused of unauthorized spread of information about the transfer of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, the movement and location of UAF units.
"I am currently at the hearing, because everyone – including the judge, of course – knows there has been no decision to hold the meeting behind closed doors. It is interesting that the judge took initiative and barred me from taking photos and making an audio recording. After all, the parties did not submit any motions to limit filming. The judge also did not explain the reason for the ban, did not cite any rule," the journalist said.
She also added that while she was waiting in the corridor for the hearing to begin, the judge told her on the way to the courtroom that she would not let her to attend the session. "She didn't explain the reason either," Kondratenko said.
The Obolon district court did not respond to IMI's request for comment. The head of the court staff informed Alina Kondratenko that their communications officer was on sick leave.
IMI lawyer Roman Holovenko noted that the journalist has the right to record court hearings on portable audio recording devices.
"The Criminal Procedure Code provides that 'every person present in the courtroom may keep a transcript, take notes, use portable audio recording devices. Photo, video recording, radio or TV broadcasting of a court hearing, as well as audio recording using stationary equipment in the courtroom are allowed in case the court makes such a decision, which should take into account the opinions of the parties and if making such a recording will not be detrimental to the proceedings" (h 6, Article 27 of the CPC). That is, they could have banned taking photos, but not recording audio on the phone. This is a feature of a criminal trial, other procedural codes contain somewhat different regulations on court hearing publicity," the lawyer noted.
As IMI reported, on December 2, 2022, "Watchers" journalist Alina Kondratenko reported that the spokeswoman of the Solomyansky District Court of Kyiv, Alyona Petukhova, tore up her request for access to an open court session in front of her. Petukhova told IMI that she had torn up the printed request because it did not have an electronic signature and did not meet the legal requirements due to this. After the journalist wrote a new request by hand on a new piece of paper and put her signature on it, it was granted.
CENSORSHIP, INFORMATION ACCESS
Access to public information – 1
31.08.2023 The Municipal Administration Department of the Zaporizhia City Council refused to provide Zaporizhzhia Center of Investigation journalists with the deeds on the completed road repair work in Zaporizhzhia, which was carried out from early July to late August 2023. The reason for the refusal was that such information could harm national security.
Serhiy Sydorov, the head of the Zaporizhzhia Investigation Center, reported this to the IMI representative in the Zaporizhzhia oblast.
According to him, the officials delayed satisfying the request until the martial law imposed with regards to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine is lifted.
The journalists requested the information on August 21 and received a response on August 28. In their response, the officials wrote the following:
"Given that the copies of the requested documents contain information regarding the repair of objects (namely highways) which belong to the linear complex of engineering structures designed for continuous, safe and convenient movement of vehicles and are adjacent to the city's infrastructure objects, including the critical infrastructure, the disclosure of such information may be detrimental to national security, territorial integrity or public order, etc."
However, Serhiy Sydorov points out that the department has posted photos of the road repairs on its Facebook page. He believes that some information is being hidden.
"A third of the city has seen exactly where the roads are being repaired. The Department, as the commissioner of the works, posted photos of the contractors working on its Facebook page almost every day, and the repair locations can be identified by these photos. Therefore, it is not very reasonable to say now that some terrible secrets are hidden in the records of the completed repair works and that they must be hidden from the Russians," said the head of the Zaporizhzhia Investigation Center.
The Zaporizhzhia Investigation Center journalists reported on Facebook that the local authorities refused their request:
"The authorities did not want to provide us with the deeds on road repair works in Zaporizhzhia because there is a war going on. Apparently, they think that the Russians will not spare an 'Iskander' or a 'Calibre' for every repaired area. And we simply cannot understand how it is possible to replace UAH 7 million worth of asphalt in two districts in a month and a half."
Roman Holovenko, a lawyer at the Institute of Mass Information, noted that the officials' refusal to provide information is unlawful.
"If we take the reply as a whole, it is an unlawful refusal, because the journalists were referred to 'Prozoro': they say, all the open information is there. This contradicts part 2 of Art. 22 of the law on access to public information. The administrator should provide copies of the documents with the information that he considers to be classified edited out (Part 8, Article 7 of the same law)," said Roman Holovenko.
As Serhiy Sydorov reported, the editors have already prepared a complaint against the officials to the Human Rights Commissioner.
According to the Zaporizhzhia Center of Investigation, the Municipal Management Department was recently established in Zaporizhzhia and is headed by Vitaly Lysenko. The department reports to Deputy Mayor Stepan Makhsma, a former secretary of the Mariupol City Council. He was appointed to the position of deputy in Zaporizhzhia under the "Metinvest" quota.
Frivolous lawsuits against media – 1
25.08.2023 The editor-in-chief of the media outlet "Volyn Online", Maryana Metelska, reported that the group of companies "Technotorg" has filed a lawsuit against her for investigating the activities of the enterprises.
Maryana Metelska reported this to the IMI representative in Volyn oblast and wrote a post on Facebook.
According to the journalist, she released her investigation on July 11, titled "'Leftover' Russian spare details available for sale: a company affiliated with the aggressor operates near Lutsk." The investigation concerned "Technotorg's" cooperation with Russia and Belarus.
As Metelska told IMI, five "Technotorg" companies are suing her. They filed a lawsuit seeking the information to be declared unreliable and defamatory. The plaintiffs demand that Metelska disavow it and pays UAH 750,000 in moral damages.
"I took the data about the Mykolaiv-based 'Tehnotorg' companies (several dozen of them) from court registers and from our partners at YouControl, who always have a file on every company in Ukraine. These data were not invented by me, there were no falsified facts in the article," the journalist wrote on Facebook.
Metelska considers the lawsuit to be pressure on her as a journalist and will defend her rights in court.
DEFENDING FREEDOM OF SPEECH
The journalist community's response – 2
01.08.2023 Poltava journalists are asking the authorities for an official audit of the work of the City Council's chief press officer, Oleksandr Dedyukhin, to establish if the official violated the laws regulating the work of journalists and ensure the right to information.
On August 1, the journalists handed over their collective address to the newly appointed Poltava City Council secretary and acting mayor, Kateryna Yamshchykova.
The letters were signed by 11 journalists and chief editors of Poltava media outlets, reports the IMI representative in Poltava oblast.
In their letter, the journalists criticize the work of Dedyukhin, who was appointed in June, and provide suggestions for improving the dialogue.
"We would like to point out that Oleksandr Dedyukhin is a deputy of the Poltava City Council, which may indicate that he has his own political interests. We have noticed that the department head chooses the tone of coverage of the City Council's work depending on which faction he is presenting, not on the actual work performed. The head of the press office, who has interest in quality dialogue with the mass media and the community, should be independent and unbiased. Moreover, appointing a person who belongs a political faction in the City Council contradicts the principle of transparency, accountability and openness. Moreover, it signals that there might be a conflict of interests and goes against the vector set by the Government and the Parliament, which currently aims to depoliticize the civil service," the appeal states.
In their address, the journalists note that Oleksandr Dedyukhin, having already been appointed, has said insulting statements about journalists, that media workers are still unable to promptly and fully communicate with the Poltava City Council officials, in particular with deputy mayors, heads of departments, etc., and that getting a necessary comment quickly it is almost impossible.
The journalists also argue that as of now, no convenient communication channel for the media has been created, as was promised at the first meeting with Dedyukhin. Notifications about most official events (meetings of the executive committee, permanent deputy commissions, sessional meetings, etc.), as well as events related to divisive matters such as the budget are announced ate or not announced at all, note the journalists.
"Media workers are faced with the chief press officer of the Poltava City Council not performing his duties appropriately. The Law "On Media" is being ignored. Despite Oleksandr Dedyukhin announcing a move to step up the openness of the City Council, media workers (even those who have a reporter's license), have a hard time getting into the City Council hall. The head of the PCC press service in no way contributes to the settlement of the situation according to the current legislation," the address reads.
Furthermore, the journalists noted that Dedyukhin's appointment took place without a transparent competition, and they were only informed about the decision afterwards. "The position has been given to a person who does not meet the requirements for the job, has no specialized education or work experience. During his first meeting with the local media community, Oleksandr Dedyukhin did not present any ideas for developing the communication strategy of the City Council and its executive committee," the address reads.
The journalists ask for a round table meeting with the participation of chief editors, journalists and special correspondents of Poltava, Kateryna Yamshchykova, and Oleksandr Dedyukhin, which would discuss divisive issues and ways to resolve them, develop a clear and transparent cooperation algorithm "to reduce unjustified bureaucratic obstacles in the media's dialogue with authorities."
The journalists also suggest that, if violations on Dedyukhin's part are confirmed by the audit or if there is no possibility for him to continue working effectively, that "Oleksandr Dedyukhin be dismissed as chief press offcer and a transparent and open competition to elect a new head of the PCC press office is held."
In a comment to the IMI representative in Poltava, Oleksandr Dedyukhin said that he does not yet know anything about the journalists' address.
"Regarding the round table meeting, I have never denied journalists communication. So, everything depends on Kateryna Leonidivna [Yamshchykova]," Oleksandr Dedyukhin remarked.
As IMI reported, on June 13, priest deputy Oleksandr Dedyukhin held his first press conference as head of the Poltava City Council press office. He promised to promote the publication of the City Council's draft decisions, including annexes; to resume online livestreams of meetings; to provide technical support for the work of camerapeople in the session hall; to establish communication channels with the heads of departments subordinate to the City Council; to be in touch with journalists 24/7 and to respond to their questions even after working hours (and told the journalists his phone number).
17.08.2023 Multiple Ukrainian women's rights and journalistic organizations say that the rhetoric of the article "If he betrays his family, he will betray his homeland: Russian soldiers cheating on their wives while at the front line" by the RFE/RL project "Sever.Realii" is unacceptable and the narratives promoted in it are imperialistic and harmful.
The statement was released by the Journalistic Ethics Commission.
The article, which was published on August 11, 2023, reports on Russian soldiers "cheating" on their legal wives with Ukrainian women in the temporarily occupied territories.
"We, Ukrainian women's rights and media organizations, are utterly outraged by the rhetoric and harmful imperial narratives promoted by this article. Namely, by the sentences such as: "Married soldiers and officers find some free time for dallying with Ukrainian women," "I thought he was a heroic man, but he was a ladies' man." These narratives not only shift the focus away from the bloody, unjust war that Russia continued with the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, but also justify sexual violence in armed conflict (SVAC), which is a war crime. The article whitewashes international criminals and the aggressor state – Russia," the statement reads.
The authors of the statement stress that no sexual actions by the Russian servicemen against persons living in the occupied territories can be consensual and that none of those actions can be considered a relationship.
"Even if it appears that way and even if women in these territories, having no sufficient information, mistakenly think that they are in a consensual relationship, this is sexual violence, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) shares this position," the human rights advocates added.
They noted that the journalist closed the article with a disclaimer, saying that "the Russian soldiers participating in the full-scale invasion of Ukraine have been accused of sexualized violence against the residents of the occupied territories since day one," but, in their opinion, the disclaimer does not affect the general tone of the article.
"Moreover, the article is illustrated with a photo depicting a soldier and a girl (namely their shoes). This photo does not evoke the horrors of war, but romanticizes them. Such a photo would be more suitable for an article about Ukrainian soldiers defending their land day by day while the Russian army is raping our women and girls, not about a 'victim and an 'aggressor,'" the statement remarks.
The authors call on Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE / RL):
- to perform an urgent editorial assessment of this article, realize its ethical transgressions and take it down'
- submit this case for consideration to the Commissioner's office, if the outlet has one. If there is no such internal institution, the outlet should submit the case for processing to the press councils depending on the jurisdiction.
- not to become a tool of Russian propaganda and not to enable romanticization and normalization of rape by the soldiers of the aggressor state, Russia.
Signed by: Association of Women Lawyers of Ukraine "Jurfem", NGO "Women in Media", Civic Alliance "Women's Political Action", Hromadske Radio, National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, "Social News Channel No. 1" (Lutsk), Expert Resource "Gender in Detail", NGO "SEMA-Ukraine", NGO "Ukrainian Institute of Media and Communication", and the Commission on Journalistic Ethics (CJE).
Help us be even more cool!