Journalists from the investigative outlet Bihus.Info noticed espionage activities while looking into the case of Ukraine’s SBU Security Service eavesdropping on their team, said the outlet’s editor and journalist, Alisa Yurchenko, in an interview with Radio Svoboda on Feb. 6.
“We continued to notice spies outside our office,” Yurchenko said.
“Typical ‘shadowing’ individuals who roamed around the office building.”
“When questioned about their activities, they were unable to provide a clear answer regarding their presence and simply circled the office.”
“Journalists also recorded vehicles with fake license plates, said Yurchenko.
“Although these occurrences diminished somewhat in the past couple of days, they remained active until it became evident that we were indeed pursuing this story.”
Read also: “I personally spoke with the head of the SBU.” Zelenskyy demands to investigation of secret filming of journalists
Commenting on the surveillance facts discovered during the investigation, Yurchenko emphasized that it violated human rights, invaded privacy, and exerted pressure on the editorial team. The editorial staff currently cannot identify the specific instigators of these actions, she said.
Bihus.Info presented evidence on Feb. 5 linking the SBU to the surveillance of the editorial team during their New Year’s corporate event. The SBU’s Department for the Protection of National Statehood managed the operation, according to the journalists’ investigation.
SBU responded to Bihus.Info’s investigation, accusing “individual employees” of the editorial team of illegal acquisition, sale, and use of narcotics. The SBU did not refute the information about its involvement in surveillance.
The media outlet Narodna Pravda, which published an illicitly sourced surveillance video the Bihus.Info team, has removed the video and closed its YouTube channel, Bihus.Info reported on Jan. 19.
Project leader Denis Bihus clarified they were contractors, not journalists, and were dismissed. He stated everyone associated with Bihus.Info will undergo drug tests. Bihus has alleged that surveillance has gone on for at least a year.
Read also: SBU’s Semenchenko was fired for surveilling journalists – NV sources
Fact-checker Olena Romaniuk later noted Narodna Pravda’s putative chief editor, Maria Shvetsova, may even be an AI-generated individual.
The editorial team has been under surveillance for approximately a year, and snippets of intercepted conversations were edited together from multiple episodes spanning months, Bihus.Info said.
Ukraine’s National Police have launched a criminal investigation into the surveillance of Bihus.Info in response to a statement by investigative journalist Maria Zemlianska, Bihus.Info’s deputy chief editor Alisa Yurchenko said on Jan. 18.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded to the release of the video, identifying any form of pressure on journalists as unacceptable.
Roman Semenchenko, former head of the National Security Department at Ukraine’s SBU security service, has been dismissed over his involvement in surveillance of the editorial team of investigative journalism outlet Bihus.Info, NV’s sources in the SBU said on Feb. 5.
Semenchenko did not deny SBU’s involvement in the surveillance in a conversation with Bihus.Info.
The SBU responded to the Bihus.Info investigation by accusing “certain staff members” of the editorial team of illegal drug use but did not deny conducting the surveillance operation.
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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine