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14 Nov, 2022 17:08

Ukrainian journalists issue call to government

Several news outlets have asked Kiev to return accreditation to colleagues accused of violating reporting restrictions
Ukrainian journalists issue call to government

A group of Ukrainian journalists and media outlets have penned an open letter to the country’s top officials, calling on them to reverse a recent decision to strip journalists of accreditation for working in the city of Kherson.

Kiev officials had earlier accused journalists, including those working for CNN and Sky News, of reporting from the recently-retaken city of Kherson without the necessary authorization from Ukrainian military commanders. 

The statement, which was published on Monday on the NGO Detector Media website, blamed the situation on the “inefficiency and unprofessionalism of the communication structures of the Ministry of Defense.” 

Their supposed “reluctance to create equal and transparent rules” has resulted in a “communication crisis,” the open letter reads.

The letter was addressed to President Vladimir Zelensky, as well as the commander in chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, Valery Zaluzhny, and Minister of Defense Alexey Reznikov.

The journalists argued that these reports were, in fact, beneficial for the country’s image.

“They witnessed the joy with which the people of Kherson met the Ukrainian army, thereby refuting the lies of Russian propaganda,” the statement said.

The journalists also dismissed the government’s concerns for their colleagues’ safety, saying the reporters had the relevant experience and skills to work “on the front lines.”

The signatories concluded by demanding that the Ukrainian government “immediately return accreditation to our Ukrainian and foreign colleagues,” as well as conduct an internal investigation into the case, with “appropriate personnel decisions” being made as a result. 

The journalists also called on Ukrainian officials to “stop aggressively attacking media people.” 

On Sunday, Ukraine’s General Staff took to Facebook, accusing unnamed “media representatives” of reporting from Kherson prior to “the completion of stabilization measures.” The post said the reporters had ignored “existing prohibitions and warnings.” It then explained that all of this had led to the revocation of the violators’ accreditation.  

Ukrainian media outlets later reported that at least six journalists had been affected, including from US broadcaster CNN and Britain’s Sky News. 

Back in July, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) criticized Ukraine over “abuses” against foreign and local media workers. The organization claimed the authorities had blocked thousands of reporters from accessing certain areas, and had even detained some of them.