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PGO, together with media, human rights NGOs, sign memo on cooperation, protection of journalists' rights

KYIV. Sept 15 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova has signed a memorandum of understanding and cooperation between the Prosecutor General’s Office and media and human rights public organizations (NGO Institute of Mass Information, NGO Crimea Human Rights Group, NGO Institute for Regional Press Development, NGO Human Rights Platform, NGO Media Detector, and NGO Human Rights Information Center, etc.

The purpose of the memorandum is to consolidate the efforts of the parties aimed at defining a common vision for improving the methods of protecting the rights of journalists from unlawful encroachments; simplification of ensuring the freedom and safety of journalists; increasing the effectiveness of supervision over compliance with the requirements of the law in the implementation of pretrial investigation, as well as maintaining public prosecution in criminal proceedings for criminal offenses committed against journalistic activities, and bringing to justice those guilty of such criminal offenses, the press service of the PGO said on its website.

It is emphasized that the document is open for signing by other public organizations.

The PGO noted that the decision to conclude the memorandum was made at a meeting with media and human rights organizations and journalists in May 2021.

"Much has been done following the results of our previous meeting, which took place in the spring. Consistency is the main feature that should be inherent in our communication. Now we have sectoral platforms in each region. Each regional prosecutor’s office has a prosecutor who is responsible for this direction. In addition, meetings with representatives of media organizations were held throughout Ukraine. We have stepped up the role of the prosecutor in criminal proceedings on crimes committed against journalists and there are already certain results," Venediktova noted.

During the current year, persons were informed of suspicion of 32 criminal offenses, there were 25 over 2020. One of the recent and topical proceedings on the fact of causing bodily harm to a journalist of the online edition Bukvy was the one in which the message of suspicion was made the very next day. Since the beginning of the year, indictments of 25 criminal offenses have been sent to the court, the same number was for the entire 2020.

Since the beginning of the year, all preliminary investigation bodies have registered 182 criminal offenses on the facts of committing criminal offenses against media representatives (Articles 171, 345-1, 347-1 and 349-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). Taking into account last year’s, 297 criminal offenses against journalists are currently being investigated.

Also, the Prosecutor General said that a course of trainings had already been developed, the first of which took place the other day at the training center of prosecutors. During them, prosecutors will be taught the standards of a prompt and high-quality response to crimes committed against journalists.