Even Fifth Column “Radio Svoboda” Received a Threatening Letter From the SBU

Translated by Ollie Richardson



The Security Service of Ukraine is pressurising the joint project “Radio Svoboda” and “UA:First” investigative television programme “Schemes”. This was reported in the statement published on the website of “Radio Svoboda”.

According to the message, the SBU is trying to prevent the broadcast of the programme, which investigates corruption in the ranks of the department.

“An hour and a half before the broadcast, when the programme was completely finalised and it was impossible to make changes already technically, Radio Svoboda received a letter signed by the chairperson of the head of department of interaction with the media Elena Gitlyanskaya with a hint on criminal liability should the programme be aired.”

It is noted that the programme prepared by journalists concerns the elite vehicle fleet of employees of the Main Department of counterintelligence protection of state interests in the sphere of economic security of the SBU.

The editor-in-chief of the “Schemes” programme Natalya Sedletska said that the programme is devoted to the premium vehicle fleet of the department:

“The price range of cars of employees of this department fluctuates between $30,000-$80,000. A salary from the budget is from 8 to 30 thousand hryvnias”

Sedletska regards the letter from the SBU as a direct threat:

“But, at the last minute before it was supposed to be broadcasted, we received the threatening letter. What is it if it’s not abusing the concept of privacy of employees, data about which was already earlier found in the media and public documents which can daily be found in a public place near the SBU? And this is done for this purpose of trying to hide the doubtful manner of their earnings from the point of view of the law?”

As was noted, the SBU for the second time has put pressure on the investigative programme “Schemes”. Earlier, in October, 2015, when journalists prepared material about the expensive vehicle fleet of SBU employees, the agency received a similar letter a few hours prior to it being aired when the program was already in the possession of the channel.

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It is known that “Radio Svoboda” is an international non-profit broadcasting organization financed by the US Congress through the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

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