‘Babchenko circus in undermines media’

- AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BRUSSELS

Jun 1, 2018-

Ukraine’s staging of the murder of anti-Kremlin journalist Arkady Babchenko undermines the credibility of his profession worldwide, campaign group IFJ said Thursday, denouncing an “intolerable” lie.

Ukraine’s security services said Babchenko’s death was faked to foil an assassination plot by Moscow, but angered both Russia and press freedom groups, including the International Federation of Journalists.

“Arkady Babchenko is still alive and can continue to exercise his profession as an outspoken journalist: this is great news,” IFJ President Philippe Leruth said in a statement.

“However, by spreading false evidence about his murder, Ukrainian authorities have seriously eroded the credibility of information,” Leruth added.He said journalists’ work “runs the risk of being considered a propaganda operation,” adding that the case fuels notions that journalists and politicians conspire.

“Was it really necessary to stage his death in order to stop an alleged attack?” Leruth asked.

Anthony Bellanger, secretary general of the IFJ—which represents around 600,000 journalists in 187 unions and associations across 146 countries— complained that the fallout was worldwide. “This is not a simple journalistic case anymore, but rather a complete circus orchestrated by military figures and a journalist threatened with death for several weeks,” Bellanger said.

“It is intolerable to lie to journalists around the world and to mislead millions of citizens that were rightly moved by this so-called murder,” he added.He said it is “unacceptable” to stage the death of a journalist when so many are actually being killed around the world as part of their quest for truth.

The IFJ recalled that it is still unknown who murdered former Russian state television journalist Pavel Sheremet, who was killed by a car bomb in July 2016 while driving near his home in Kiev.

He had begun his career in his home country Belarus but left after confronting authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.In an operation that blindsided the world’s media, Babchenko made a shock reappearance at a press conference in Kiev on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the Ukrainian authorities reported he had been shot dead at his home in a contract-style killing blamed on Russia.

Babchenko, who told the press he had been preparing to stage his death with secret services for several weeks, dismissed the criticism and asked “all these moralisers” to put themselves in his place.

Published: 01-06-2018 08:55

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