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18.02.2011

Deputy Hrytsak demands retraction regarding over link with SSAPS through the courts

   

National Deputy [MP] Vasyl Hrytsak and the consortium SSAPS [Single State Automated Passport System] are asking the court to ban the newspaper Kommersant and the TV channel 1 + 1 from using any mention of them or linking them.

This request is contained in a civil suit against the former Head of the State Committee on Entrepreneurship, Mykhailo Brodsky, the company Kommersant – Ukraine, journalist Serhiy Sydorenko and TV Studio 1 + 1.  This is a defamation suit (defending honour, dignity and business reputation) demanding that information be found to be false and a retraction issued. The suit has been lodged with the Kyiv-Sviatoshynsky District Court in the Kyiv region.

Mr Hrytsak and SSAPS are asking that the respondents be prohibited from publishing or posting information about the claimants and the course of the court proceedings in any media outlet, Internet publication or website.

The suit focuses on a report by Serhiy Sydorenko from Kommersant: “The State showed leniency” («Государство проявило мягкость») on 29 September 2010, and specifically a quote from M. Brodsky: “Forms and holograms are a separate issue. We have a structure – SSAPS, that is, Mr Hrytsak (Party of the Regions Deputy, Vasyl Hrytsak, according to people in that market, controls the SSAPS consortium – Kommersant). The entire country pays him a billion dollars. Yet if you just touch him, there’s outcry.”

A second focus is the publication “Regions Party deputy called Brodsky a diseased “orange” schizophrenic” («Регіонал обізвав Бродського хворим "померанчевим" шизофреником» ) of 29 September 2010 on the news site TSN (part of 1 + 1) for its reprint of the Kommersant article, specifically this extract:

“Vasyl Hrytsak, SSAPS Director called the Head of the State Committee on Entrepreneurship, Mykhailo Brodsky a diseased “orange” schizophrenic” over the latter’s accusations of corruption.Forms and holograms are a separate issue. We have a structure – SSAPS, that is, Mr Hrytsak (Party of the Regions Deputy, Vasyl Hrytsak, according to people in that market, controls the SSAPS consortium – Kommersant). The entire country pays him a billion dollars. Yet if you just touch him, there’s outcry”, Mr Brodsky said.  The same site also contains a video of Brodsky’s address posted on YouTube (the image shows the logo of UTV-1, where the clip was taken from).

The claimants assert that they “have been accused of corruption in a defamatory, degrading manner” and that the respondents used the media to deliberately damage their business reputation.

They are demanding that the respondents be forced to publish a retraction which states that the “accusations of corrupt dealings by the SSAPS consortium and V.M. Hrytsak are baseless, the country does not pay V.M.Hrytsak a billion dollars for forms and holograms, and he does not control the activities of the SSAPS consortium (and does not hold the post of Director of the SSAPS consortium).

Lawyer from the Institute for Mass Information, Ihor Rozkladai points out that Brodsky did directly accuse Hrytsak and link him with SSAPS. He stresses, however, that the journalists acted in good faith and Hrytsak was given the right to respond.  Kommersant reported Brodsky’s comments from a meeting of the Committee on Economic Reforms, and stated that Hrytsak had said that he did not want to comment on them. “In this case, given the news format of the material making it impossible to thoroughly check the ownership structure of the consortium, which could take a fair amount of time, the journalists acted professionally”.

Mr Rozkladai also noted that the claimants were unreasonable in demanding that the TV channel broadcast a retraction when the feature had not been actually broadcast (and the suit contains no URL to it).  He notes too that the consortium has been the focus of media attention for many years and has on many occasions taken an aggressive approach with civil suits (cf. khpg.org/index.php?id=1222284680 and  khpg.org/index.php?id=1253628658

From the report at Telekritika

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