Archive for June 22nd, 2017

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StranaUA searched – Editor Igor Guzhva arrested

June 22, 2017

Many readers aware of the media outlet StranaUA will have perhaps wondered why the search of its premises by the National Investigative Police (not SBU) has taken so long in coming.

StranaUA is hardly what can be called a publication that promotes a western traveling Ukraine.

Igor Guzhva is long reputed to be a creature of Vladislav Surkov, and others close to the publication include Russian journalist Iskander Khisamov who was, and perhaps still is, within the orbit of Gleb Pavlovsky a Kremlin spin doctor.

However, a media outlet is a media outlet and freedom of speech is the shield that protects, even if propaganda and disinformation is espoused, promulgated and disseminated under the cover of freedom of speech yes?

Well actually no – albeit each case must necessarily be assessed on its individual merits.

As Dmitry Kiselev, Russia’s most (in)famous rabid “journalist” recently discovered in a European Court of Human Rights ruling when challenging his sanctions and travel ban as curtailing his journalistic right to free speech, the court stated propaganda is not covered by a journalistic masking of freedom of speech.

So Ukraine has taken action against StranaUA in light of this recent ECfHR ruling and decided to put an end to StranaUA flapdoodle?  Or Kremlin influence?  Perhaps dodgy funding?

Well no.  Prima facie the issue appears to be purely criminal.  Igor Guzhva has been arrested for demanding and recieving a $10,000 bribe to withhold from publication kompromat (incriminating material) of a Ukrainian parliamentarian.  Thus a matter of blackmail it appears.

According to Prosecutor General Lutsenko, the incident is on tape and the bribe has been recovered during the search.

Mr Guzhva will no doubt claim he has been framed, and whether or not he is taken out of circulation it is unlikely that StranaUA will simply disappear as a result – nor change its style of media content  It will claim State institutional pressure on dissenting media.  The muffling of freedom of speech.

Time will tell whether it is indeed a State an engineered incident, or simply a criminal getting caught for a criminal act – or both.

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