Intimidation and Discrediting Campaign Against Anti-corruption Activists Continues
After introduction of law in Ukraine obliging activists from anti-corruption donors funded NGOs to submit electronic asset declarations there was launched special intimidation and discrediting campaign in media, which we already described in previous updates edition.
Such a campaign got its continuation on April 28, when national TV Channel TRK “Ukraina” controlled by oligarch Renat Akhmetov released a 30 minutes documentary on “Following the Grant-eaters”. The documentary attempts to depict pro-reform politicians with background in civic activism and journalism and activists as people, who allegedly abused Western grants to enrich themselves. Mustafa Nayem, Svitlana Zalishchuk, Yegor Sobolyev, Sergiy Leshchenko, Yuliya Marushevska are targeted in the film.
In addition, the documentary focused on the head of AntAC Vitaliy Shabunin, who is not a politician. Notably, one of the “independent experts” condemning activists in the documentary is Maksym Goldarb, head of “Public Audit” NGO. Previously Mr. Goldarb was a prosecutor and head of department within Ministry of Defense of Ukraine overseeing public procurements of the agency. In October 2014 AntAC forced PGO to start criminal investigation against Mr. Goldarb for covering embezzlement schemes in public contracts in defense sector.
This is already the third discrediting movie targeting Vitaliy Shabunin during the last month. Most of the information reflected in such movies is either manipulative or does not reflect the real facts.
Moreover, Oleksandra Ustinova, the member of AntAC’s Executive Board, was recently met at the airport by the same “journalist” who developed the movies about Shabunin and was trying to question origins of funds for Oleksandra’s vacation abroad. We believe, the only source of information about flight details of Oleksandra for the “journalist” is the Security Service of Ukraine.
A week later, these pseudo-journalists tried to secretly visit Ustinova’s home in her absence, but they were caught by a hidden camera in front of the entrance.