Tag Archives: journalism

Lavrov: journalist Vyshinky case “absurd”

Russian Minister of Foreign affairs Sergey Lavrov  reiterated Moscow demands of respect of his human rights and immediate liberation of journalist Kirill Vyshinky (pictured) arrested in Ukraine.

The trial in the case of the RIA Novosti Ukraine chief editor resembles the theater of the absurd. There is no doubt that the journalist was arrested illegally, only because he worked for a Russian media outlet and honestly covered current developments. Ukrainian prosecutors seem to understand it as they have been postponing hearings, citing the need to study the case files,Lavrov said to Aif newspaper.

Our diplomats maintain contacts with his lawyers as Ukraine failed to provide us with access to the journalist himself. We are doing our best, working with foreign partners, particularly on international platforms, encouraging them to influence Kiev so that a positive solution can be foundLavrov concluded.

Kiev’s Podolsky District Court postponed the hearing of the Vyshinsky case to July 19.

Vyshinsky was arrested in Kiev  by the Ukrainian Security Service  (SBU) on 15 May 2018.  Being under arrest, on On 1 June 2018, he said in court: “I declare my withdrawal from my Ukrainian citizenship — from this moment I consider myself only a citizen of Russia.”

Media attention to Putin at rise

A record number of journalists – 1,702 – have been accredited to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s traditional annual news conference due to take place on December 20, according to the Kremlin website which posted the final list of accredited journalists.

Press secretary Dmitry Peskov said earlier this year’s news conference had attracted increased interest, with the number of applications for accreditation at rise.

Applications were received from Russian journalists registered with the national mass media watchdog Roscomnadzor and from foreign press with the Russian foreign ministry (MFA) accreditation.

Putin on TV

 

 

End impunity for crimes against journalists!

“Democracy cannot live without free, diverse and independent media. Journalists and media actors across the globe hold states, government officials, corporations and society at large accountable for their actions. But far too many among them face threats and attacks simply for carrying out their work, while the perpetrators of these attacks often act with total impunity” says the Declaration by the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini on behalf of the bloc on the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists – 2 November 2018.

“On this day, which has been proclaimed as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, by virtue of the UN General Assembly Resolution 68/163, we pay tribute to all those journalists around the world who lost their lives and suffered attacks in the exercise of their profession. We also pay tribute to all those brave journalists who are taking up the work of their colleagues who can no longer pursue their investigations.

“The assassinations of investigative journalists Daphne Caruana Galizia and Jan Kuciak in the EU, demonstrate that no region of the world is immune to this. These despicable crimes need to be thoroughly investigated and prosecute, as it is the case for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. We have asked and expect that Saudi Arabia cooperates on a thorough, credible and transparent investigation and we insist on the need for clarity on the circumstances of his death and full accountability of all those responsible for it.

“There is in many countries a worrying tendency to erode and shrink the space for free journalism, often by putting indiscriminately in question the credibility of media to discredit and weaken their work. Journalists need an environment where they are able to work in safety and security, both online and offline, without fear of harassment, political pressure, censorship or persecution. A robust legal system must protect media houses and journalists all around the world so that they can fulfil their work in full independence. In a time where disinformation is on the rise, the safety of journalists must be guaranteed to allow them to promote accurate reporting for the benefit and in the interests of all our citizens.

“The EU will continue to use all appropriate external policy and financial instruments to enhance the quality of journalism, access to public information and freedom of expression. It will continue funding the European Centre for Press and Media freedom (ECPMF) and providing targeted protection through Human Rights Defenders Support programmes.

“All states within and outside the European Union have a duty to fulfill their obligations to protect freedom of expression and the safety of journalists by providing an enabling legal environment, by taking threats against journalists seriously and by vigorously prosecuting actual attacks. We expect all to reinforce preventive measures, mobilising all actors and creating national safety mechanisms, in line with the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

“Free journalism is the backbone of free societies: undermining it means undermining our own freedom” – the Declaration concludes.

Moscow demands Kiev to investigate real assassinations not fake

In a comment on fake news, and a staged assassination of Kiev journalist Arkadi Babchenko Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) requested from Ukrainian   authorities to  investigate the assassinations of journalists, and activists happened in the past, instead of indulging in theatrical performances of doubtful effects. Moscow has also assessed the operation as a stir, with a purpose of creating a whirlwind of  a Russophobic sentiments.

“The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reported that journalist Arkady Babchenko is in fact alive and that his “murder” was nothing but an incident staged as part of a special operation. We are glad to hear that the Russian national is alive. However, we must point out the following” – the comment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation says.

As a direct consequence of these actions, obviously designed to attain a certain propaganda effect, the entire global community, which quickly responded to the reports of a media representative from Ukraine, was in fact misled. Now we are learning the true motives for this staged incident that was apparently another anti-Russia provocation”.

“Right after the rumour was spread that Arkady Babchenko had been murdered, the Ukrainian Prime Minister and several other officials made statements in which they directly accused Russia of being involved in the murder. Now Ukrainian officials are planning to spin this Russophobic lie. According to the head of the Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak, Ukrainian security forces detained a murder suspect who, as Hrytsak stressed, was allegedly recruited by Russian security services. SBU’s further action is clear. Naturally, they will continue to forment this provocation” – the comment continues.

The MFA is also reminding about the events in Odessa (2014, May 2), when  officially 48 people were killed, 250 wounded, however Member of Parliament from Odessa Vadim Savenko insists the real number of people burned alive in Trade Unions House amounts to 116. Throughout the fire, hundreds of local riot police were drawn up outside the building, but they mostly did not intervene to stop the massacre.

“Apparently, Ukrainian officials cannot find another way to demonstrate their performance other than to stage a murder instead of investigating actual crimes, including the murders of Oles Buzina, Pavel Sheremet and other journalists as well as the Odessa residents who were burned alive.” 

“We have to state that, in Ukraine, matters of life and death and the trust of the international community in its policy are nothing but a bargaining chip in Kiev’s efforts to incite anti-Russia hysteria.”  

“We are certain that our foreign partners and relevant international institutions will reach their respective conclusions” – the MFA comment suggests.

The fake news about assassination of  Russian journalist Arkadi Babchenko  caused a a wave of reactions, primary from journalistic community, but also from diplomats, and human rights activists. Reporters without Borders issued a special communiqué condemning deliberate creation of fake news by Babchenko as damaging to cause of mass media, combating desinformation.

 

 

EU calls for transparent investigation of Babchenko assassination

“The European Union expresses its sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of journalist Arkady Babchenko, who was killed at his home in Kyiv on 29 May”- the External Action Service reacted in a statement of a spokesperson.

“Mr Babchenko was a respected war correspondent, who left his native Russia in 2017 following threats to his life in relation to his journalistic work there. Each time that a voice of freedom is violently silenced, it risks weakening our societies and undermining our democracies. The best way to honour Mr Babchenko‘s memory and his work, and to firmly counter any attempt to endanger our shared fundamental rights is through a swift and transparent investigation that brings those responsible for this crime to justice.”

“The European Union stands in solidarity with journalists and will continue to work to protect them and their work, which is vital to all democracies, within and beyond our borders.”

The assassination evoked a wave of condamnation from behalf of the leading European international institutions as Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland requested full and rapid investigation, pointing at danger the attack on free speech represents to democracy.

The assassination of a dissident Russian journalist, who lived and worked in Ukraine since 2017, took place next to his apartment, where he was shot three times in his back. There Ukrainian police said the hideous act may have been tied to his reporting.

Babchenko, 41, died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, a government official said.

Russian authorities vehemently reject accusations made ahead of the investigation.

AMENDMENT (!) 30/05/3028 17:45

“The reported killing of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko on Tuesday in Kiev was actually a ruse played by the Ukrainian law enforcement to prevent a planned hit, the Ukrainian authorities said.

Reporting on the high profile case on Wednesday, the head of the SBU, Ukraine’s national security service, Sergey Gritsak said Babchenko was alive and unhurt”.

EU urges Baku to respect freedom of speech

“The six-year sentence handed down to Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli in Azerbaijan by a court in Balakan on 12 January poses serious questions as regards the exercise of fundamental rights including the freedom of expression and media and due process of law in Azerbaijan, ” –  says the statement by the spokesperson of the European External Action Service (EEAS) on the sentencing of the journalist.

“The alleged abduction of Mr Mukhtarli in Georgia followed by his arrest and prosecution in Azerbaijan continues to demand thorough and transparent investigation.”

“All cases of incarceration related to the exercise of fundamental rights should be reviewed urgently by Azerbaijan, followed by the release all of those concerned, in line with Azerbaijan’s international commitments.”

The OSCE has condemned the jailing of Azerbaijan journalist, and expressed hope the verdict to be overturned on appeal.

The US State Department issued a statement, being “disturbed” by sentencing of journalist Afgan Mukhtarli,  and urged Azerbaijan to release him:

A day after the journalist went missing in сaptial city of neighbouring Georgia, Tbilisi, in May 2017, Azerbaijani authorities declared him in custody in Baku on suspicion of smuggling and crossing the border illegally.

Muxtarli’s lawyers, Elcin Sadiqov and Nemat Karimli, told the court that their client was “abducted” in Georgia and illegally brought into Azerbaijan.

Defending  Mr Mukhtarli  both  lawyers insist the case is politically motivated and requested to drop all charges.

World Press Fredom Day

World Press Freedom Day is marked every year on 3 May, but there is little reason to celebrate as journalists continue to be repressed and persecuted all over the world. The challenges facing the press are discussed by Parliament’s human rights subcommittee on Thursday morning, with a special focus on the growing threat of disinformation. .

The internet technologies have created new opportunities for the media, and greatest advantage in promoting democracy representing threat to authoritarian powers, resting on filtering news to manipulate public opinion.

IT technologies and social media cause the traditional mass media profound crisis in the leading democracies as the USA, where the president accuses mass media of misrepresenting his views, preferring social media, namely Twitter to communicate with the citizens.

During the debate on 4 May, members of the human rights subcommittee will discuss the World Press Freedom index compiled by Reporters without Borders as well the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) activities in the field of media freedom and how the EU is reacting to disinformation and fake news.

“When we consider press freedom, we also have to look at the internet. It is a source of knowledge as much as it is a source of concern. Almost half of all Europeans get their news from social media. This has made spreading fake news far too easy. There are mounting concerns over disinformation and hate speech, used to promote radicalization and fundamentalism, particularly among young people,” – Parliament President Antonio Tajani called attention to the issue in a statement.