Ukrainian broadcaster drops Oliver Stone’s documentary after threats to staff & grenade attack

On top of the attack, the channel says it’s been enduring censorship and threats ever since it announced plans to broadcast the documentary. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko lashed out at the channel, threatening it with prosecution should it air Stone’s film. The outlet’s editorial board was forced to recommend the broadcast be canceled.

“Taking into account these recommendations and the inability to fully protect the rights of journalists in the event of sanctions against the TV channel, the team of 112 Ukraine decided to cancel the film broadcast,” 112 Ukraine said on its website on Monday. 

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The board said the decision was reached over increasing worries for the lives of the Channel’s journalists. It harshly criticized Ukraine’s authorities for their “extremely unsatisfactory” actions in defending the journalists and the fundamental right to freedom of speech in the country, warning it will ask international organizations for assistance if the situation does not change in the near future.

Earlier, 112 Ukraine had already pleaded with international press freedom watchdogs, the European Union and Ukraine’s law enforcement for protection, repeatedly claiming it had received threats from radical nationalists who oppose the сhannel’s editorial policy. Over the weekend, right-wing organizations staged a rally outside its headquarters, while some employees received personal messages with threats. On the night of July 13, the channel’s office was attacked by two unknown assailants with a grenade launcher. Nobody was hurt in the incident, although the blast caused damage inside the office. A criminal case was launched following the attack.

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Ukrainian channel attacked with grenade launcher ahead of broadcasting Oliver Stone’s documentary

The film that has sparked the controversy is a documentary produced by Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone and directed by Ukrainian-American director Igor Lopatenok. It details the political crisis and armed conflict in Ukraine that broke out in 2014 and features an exclusive interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The film’s narrative doesn’t fit the one preferred by Kiev today and the decision to air the documentary faced harsh criticism.

‘Revealing Ukraine’ is to be shown in some 70 countries worldwide in the coming days.

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