Protection of Professional Rights of Journalists or Its Imitation?

Zakharchenko Oleksii

Media Expert, Election Technology Expert. Regional representative of the Institute of Mass Information in the Sumy Region, Monitoring Expert of the NGO Media Detector, Chairman of the Board of the…

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24 February 2021

In the Sumy region, it was decided to intensify the work of the working group on the protection of professional activities of journalists and freedom of speech at the regional state administration. In fact, this group was created in 2018, and this year’s order of the head of the regional state administration only renews its membership.

The initiative is generally correct, because, according to the monitoring of the Institute of Mass Media, last year the number of obstacles to the legal professional activity of journalists increased by as much as 26% compared to 2019.

In fact, the declared tasks of the working group are monitoring and analysis of the situation regarding the protection of professional activity of journalists, preparation of agreed proposals for protection of journalists’ rights and establishment of an effective mechanism of interaction between local authorities and media.

Everything is apparently fine: the working group will inform the head of the regional state administration about the violation of professional rights of journalists, develop mechanisms to prevent these violations and propose them for implementation. There is only one doubt - the personal composition of the working group.

Out of the 10 members of the working group, 5 are officials and another 3 are law enforcement officials. No journalists or editors of current media were included in the group. There is only one representative of the existing journalists’ associations in the region included - the head of the press club.

At the same time, for example, the Barometer of Freedom of Speech from the Institute of Mass Media shows that the right of journalists to the profession was violated mainly by local authorities and the police in January 2021.

It turns out that those who violate the rights of journalists are called upon to protect these violated rights.