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Babchenko case: intolerable and unacceptable

31 May 2018

This event will be remembered as the “Babchenko case”. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the world’s largest organization of journalists with 600,000 members in 146 countries, stresses that the profession’s aim is to seek the truth and that any manipulation of information can dramatically damage media credibility as well as journalism as a whole.

Twenty four hours after the announcement of his death, Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko appeared alive, on 30 May, during a press conference in Kiev, a city where he was reported killed by three bullets in his back on 29 May.

The IFJ passed on this sad news on its social media, and joined both its Russian affiliate and its Ukrainian members in asking for a thorough investigation of the murder. But the outcome of this story, apart from the fact that it has been organised and exploited by Ukrainian services with presumably serious diplomatic consequences, strengthens the idea of journalists and politicians conspiring together.

Philippe Leruth, IFJ president, said:

"Arkady Babchenko is still alive and can continue to exercise his profession as an outspoken journalist: this is great news. However, by spreading false evidence about his murder, Ukrainian authorities have seriously eroded the credibility of information, and their communication runs the risk of being considered a propaganda operation. Was it really necessary to stage his death in order to stop an alleged attack? The International Federation of Journalists fights against impunity, which benefits journalists’ murderers, but it also demands transparency of information. The IFJ reminds that in Ukraine, Pavel Cheremet’s killers and their backers have never been identified."

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:

"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. But 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. It is unacceptable to mastermind the death of a journalist, especially since two media workers fall every week since January, the most recent case being in Mexico on 29 May."

Tags: , ifj, russian union of journalists, national union of journalists ukraine, fake news, journalist safety, journalists killed