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RFE/RL Condemns Threatened Release Of Journalists' Personal Data In Ukraine


The former Ukrainian parliamentarian who disclosed the personal information, Andriy Portnov (right), used to serve as chief of staff to ex-President Viktor Yanukovych (left).

KYIV -- The president of RFE/RL has condemned the disclosure of personal information about a driver for the company by former Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Portnov and his threat to release similar data about RFE/RL journalists.

"RFE/RL strongly condemns the recent harassment of journalists and staff of the program Skhemy (Schemes) of our Ukrainian Service," RFE/RL President Jamie Fly said in a statement on November 2. "It is unacceptable and, it also seems, unlawful for anyone in Ukraine to disclose personal information, threaten physical harm, or otherwise put pressure on journalists because of their professional activities."

The statement came one day after Portnov published on his Telegram channel personal data of a driver working for the Schemes production team because the program is working on an investigation into Portnov and his relations with officials currently in the Ukrainian government.

Portnov also threatened to release similar data relating to other Schemes journalists and staffers.

Portnov formerly served as chief of staff to President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted from power and fled to Russia in February 2014.

Fly also urged the Ukrainian authorities to "hold accountable those who commit actions that undermine the public's belief in Ukraine's commitment to freedom of expression."

Skhemy, an award-winning investigative-journalism program, is a joint project of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service and UA:Pershy television.

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