MOSCOW, June 1. /TASS/. The Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights has voiced concern over the situation that journalists and media are facing in Ukraine to [OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media] Dunja Mijatovic and OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir.
"Russian civil society is alarmed by the plight of journalists and media freedom in Ukraine," the council said in a report. Along with the murder of journalists Oles Buzina and Pavel Sheremet, it also cited the latest episode in which Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was compelled to act in a ‘resurrection’ stunt by the Ukrainian intelligence service, the SBU.
"We all remember the murder of Oles Buzina in April 2015 and Pavel Sheremet in July 2016. Now, a representative of the journalist community, whose goal is to ensure the right to inform his audience and to serve society, was forced into taking part in an inhumane stunt to fake his own murder," the Council said.
It said "employing a journalist to mislead society" is immoral and undermines trust in media. With this in view, the Committee urged Dunja Mijatovic and Harlem Desir "to use the available resources to influence the Ukrainian authorities in order to normalize the atmosphere for media activity in the country".
On Tuesday evening, Kiev police claimed that Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was the victim of a fatal attack, in which he was allegedly gunned down. However, on Wednesday Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) convened a press conference revealing that they had foiled an attempt on the life of the Russian journalist by pulling off a sting operation where Babchenko’s death was faked.
SBU Chief Vasily Gritsak stated at the news briefing that Babchenko was unharmed, after which the then presumed ‘dead’ Russian reporter strolled out in front of reporters.
Gritsak accused Russia’s special services of allegedly engineering the attempted murder and said that the mastermind of the crime had been detained on Wednesday.
Later, the alleged mastermind, director of a private weapons plant, Boris German, appeared in court to deny all charges. Moscow condemned the accusations against Russia as a new provocation fomented by Kiev.