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UPDATE: CPJ, RSF Condemn Ukraine Ruling On Access To Investigative Journalist's Phone Data


Natalia Sedletska

September 19, 2018 -- OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir has welcomed the September 18 interim measure adopted by European Court of Human Rights, demanding that Ukrainian authorities abstain from accessing the mobile telephone data of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) investigative reporter Natalia Sedletska.

Said Desir, "I welcome the swift action of the European Court of Human Rights to protect mobile phone data of an investigative journalist, pending full complaint to the court. Investigative journalism plays the essential role of a watchdog in societies and journalists must be able to protect their sources.”

In addition, both The Independent and taz.de reported on the Sedletska case.

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September 5, 2018 -- The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned a Ukrainian court's decision granting the country's prosecutor-general's office permission to obtain over a year's worth of mobile phone data belonging to RFE/RL investigative journalist Natalia Sedletska.

CPJ called the ruling "an affront to the principle of press freedom that the Ukrainian government purports to uphold," and urged prosecutors "to stop this overreach so that journalists can safely do their work of holding the powerful to account."

Reporters Without Borders also condemned the Ukrainian court's action, noting that “this decision seriously compromises the protection of journalistic sources, which is essential to investigative journalism and which is guaranteed by Ukrainian and European law.”

Both the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine and Maja Kocijancic, the spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, have expressed concern about the court decision, as has ​OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir, who said “investigative journalism plays the essential role of a watchdog in societies and journalists must be able to protect their sources.” Desir added, “I call on the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that all steps in line with international standards and OSCE commitments are taken to respect Natalia Sedletska’s privilege to keep her sources confidential.”

Sedletska, a reporter with RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, is the author and host of the award-winning investigative TV program Schemes, which investigates high-level corruption and the abuse of public office among Ukrainian officials.

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