Archive for November 3rd, 2010

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International Press Duplicity in Ukraine

November 3, 2010

Well dear readers, sometimes Ukraine is internationally bashed for the uneven application of the law.  However, when that law is applied without favouritism, here is the result:

Interfax-Ukraine

Kyiv police have issued an apology after attempting to detain head of the World Association of News and News Publishers Christoph Riess and Jan Wagner of the INMA organization.

“Riess and Wagner along with their guide and interpreter were touring the Park of Glory and were heading towards the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, when they were approached by two police officers for a document check. The guide and interpreter showed their passports, Riess and Wagner their ID cards. Police said that was not enough and told them they would have to be taken to a local police station for identification,” General Director of the Independent Regional Publishers of Ukraine Oksana Brovko told the Telekritika edition.
They were questioned for about 20 minutes before the policemen agreed to let the foreign guests go and not take them to the police station.

One of the officers introduced himself as Pechersk District Police Sergeant Oleh Kyrek, the second one did not name himself, Brovko said.

The Ukrainian policemen lacked the training as to be able “to understand what ID cards were,” she said.

Riess arrived in Kyiv at the invitation of the Ukrainian president and attended a Ukrainian newspapers congress. On Oct. 29 he met President Viktor Yanukovych to discuss the possibility of holding the 2012 World Newspaper Congress in Kyiv.

“The police officers, who acted in accordance with Ukrainian law, indeed stopped the foreign citizens for identification,” the Ukrainian Interior Ministry told Interfax on Sunday.

“However, these people were not detained after they were identified during their conversation with the police officers, and continued their trip around the city,” the ministry said.

An internal inquiry has been launched over the incident.

In addition, Kyiv police met with Riess and Wagner and apologized for the unprofessional conduct of the police officers of Pechersk district police department.

In particular, they apologized for the lengthy documents check, the waste of personal time and “the incompetence of police employees regarding international identification documents.”
At present, internal inquiries on these police officers are being conducted and some disciplinary penalties could be imposed on them if their incompetence is confirmed.

“The leadership of Kyiv police hopes that this incident will not spoil the guests’ impression of Ukraine, in particular, in the historical part of the capital, in Pechersk,” the interior ministry said.

In addition, Wagner thanked the police for their response to complaints against their subordinate officers and expressed hope that the security of representatives of the foreign mass media will be provided for at the highest level if the congress of the World Association of Newspapers is held in Kyiv.

What on earth are the Kyiv Police apologising for?

Since when does a Press ID Card have the same weight as the production of your passport?

Does the Press ID Card show what Visa you have or how long you have been in Ukraine?

Does it prove that you are not breaching immigration regulations?

Does by producing a Press ID Card automatically mean that you are still a member of the press?

Since when did the press have additional rights to me and simply being a member of the press excludes someone from the laws everybody else adheres to?

Would the State Trooper, Department of Homeland Security or the UK police accept Press ID when trying to confirm someone’s identification or their immigration status?  They all also have the power to take you to a police station whilst your identity if confirmed and legal status in country is determined.

The governments of the two press members here are continually pressing Ukraine for equal application of the law (rather than its evasion through cronyism, bribery etc) and yet these two press people seem to think that they are above the checks anyone else is subjected to?

There has been nothing untoward or illegal in the actions of these police officers (from the contents of the article) and they have simply done the job they are paid to do.

Why is there an apology of any kind forthcoming?

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