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The journalistic community stands up for Anna Babinets

We, Ukrainian media and public organizations, journalists and members of the Media Movement, are outraged by the actions of the Principal Investigations Department of the National Police of Ukraine planning to interrogate editor-in-chief of the investigation agency Slidstvo.Info Anna Babinets on May 13.

According to the published information, the interrogation is to take place in the case initiated by MP Oleksandr Dubinskyi following an inquiry regarding his contacts with people close to US President Donald Trump. This MP of the Servant of the People party personally handed his claim over to Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov which triggered an investigation into Slidstvo.Info.

We see such actions of the police as pressure on independent media. We also believe that the shameful practice as summoning a journalist for questioning because of an information inquiry negatively affects Ukraine’s international image and puts it on a par with authoritarian countries neglecting the fundamental value of democracy, such as freedom of speech.

Two months back, when it became known that a case had been opened against investigative journalists, a number of international organizations, including Reporters Without Borders and the CPJ condemned the actions of the Ukrainian authorities.

We, for our part, call on President Volodymyr Zelenskyi and Minister Arsen Avakov to not forget that Ukraine is a democratic state where a journalist cannot be summoned to the police simply because of performing her direct professional duties of asking a civil servant for information. Such actions are perceived as pressure on independent media by the Ukrainian and the world journalistic community.

We consider the work of the Slidstvo.Info editorial office to be socially important and based on high journalistic standards, differing significantly from the work of Mr. Dubinskyi when he was a journalist. He was engaged in manipulation and “information killing” against political opponents of his employer Ihor Kolomoyskyi, as repeatedly reported by Ukrainian monitoring organizations.

We call on the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Minister Avakov personally to not resort to actions that could be seen as intimidation of journalists, focusing instead their efforts on investigating real criminal cases, including dozens of attacks on journalists.

Media Movement “Media for Conscious Choice”