The non-governmental organization Hromadske and its journalist, Anastasia Stanko, have filed suit against the press service of Ukraine’s Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) — the official government name for military actions against Russia-backed separatists in the country’s east — to protect their professional reputation.
The case concerns a July 8, 2016 Facebook post by the press center, which claimed that Stanko and her colleague, Kostiantyn Reutsky, violated rules for working in the ATO zone.
After analyzing Stanko and Reutsky’s work in the region, representatives of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), the Ministry of Defense, and the Presidential Administration later concluded that no violations had occured. As a result, both journalists regained their ATO zone accreditation on August 29, 2016.
However, neither the SBU’s Anti-Terrorist Center, nor Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense has since published a retraction of the accusation, which is damaging for both the journalists and Hromadske as an organization. In correspondence with Hromadske facilitated by Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and other independent organizations, both state agencies promised to publish such a retraction.
The first hearing in this case is scheduled to take place on November 14 at Kyiv’s Pechersky District Court.