Prosecutor finds no crime in Deputys aggressive behaviour toward a journalist
The Prosecutor’s Office has refused to initiate a criminal investigation against National Deputy Oleksandr Tkachenko over the situation which arose during an interview for the TV Channel STB. As reported already, on 1 September. STB Special Correspondent Olha Chervakova attempted to find out from Mr Tkachenko, a National Deputy from the Communist Party, why he had called the day before for journalists to not be allowed into the parliamentary buffet. He did not answer, just first hit out at the microphone, and then grabbed it and took it upstairs to the third floor where he threw it down and it fell into the basement. All of this was recorded on video.
Journalist colleagues came out in support of Ms Chervakova, with the Kyiv Independent Media Trade Union calling on the Prosecutor General to ensure that a criminal investigation was launched, while the Journalist Ethics Committee examined the video footage and found nothing unprofessional in Chervakova’s behaviour. On 9 September the Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information decided that Tkachenko must publicly apologize for his behaviour.
Now the Prosecutor has decided that there is no evidence of the offence under Article 171 § 1 of the Criminal Code (deliberate obstruction of a journalist carrying out his or her duties) nor Article 194 § 1 (deliberate destruction or damage to other people’s property causing large-scale damage).
The Pechersky District Prosecutor’s Office in Kyiv did, however, agree that the microphone had been damaged, however the cost of this is about a quarter of the minimum amount for being deemed large-scale damage.
Of more importance is the conclusion of the Prosecutor’s Office that no evidence had been found of deliberate obstruction. The actions of Mr Tkachenko are described as “caused by the stubborn insistence of journalist O. Chervakova who was trying to receive answers to her questions despite Mr Tkachenko’s not wishing to give them.”
Olha Chervakova and STB can now lodge a civil compensation claim for moral and material damage.
From information at www.telekritika.ua