Journalists in a collective letter to Novye Izvestia claim that the court's decision put their publication on the brink of bankruptcy.
In the summer of 2020, UfaTime.ru published information from a video in which inadequate parents beat their child in front of passers-by. After the release of the material, the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation took control of the case. This suggests that they have taken up a dysfunctional family, and no one else will punch the child in the stomach.
But then Roskomnadzor intervened and demanded... parents' permission to publish the video.
“How it should have looked: “Hello. Can we post a video of you punching a crying child in the belly?" But we could not make even such a strange request - it is impossible to recognize on the video what kind of boy he is, the voices are distorted. Nevertheless, the court found the actions of the editorial board illegal and fined the company, the editor-in-chief and the director a total of 460 thousand rubles. As a result of the trial, many questions remained unanswered.
Why did Roskomnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications) involve us for causing harm to a child, but did not provide evidence of this harm? Why does the state supervisory authority use uncertified software to record signs of "violations"? Why did the court ignore this and did not even apply the so-called "right to a discount of up to 50%", the possibility of which is spelled out in the Administrative Code?", - comments the director of LLC "Ufataim" Roman Sadykbayev.
“We are the very small business, the preservation of which is so often mentioned by the leaders of the country”, - the journalists of the edition note in their address to the public. - And the very independent media that society needs now. We do not have government contracts, and the founders are not oligarchs, but ordinary people. Our income consists only of the sale of advertising services. We regularly pay salaries to 13 employees and all taxes. In the era of the coronavirus, advertising revenues have shrunk to barely enough to keep a team. A half-million fine will bankrupt the company, and we will be forced to leave all employees and their families (including those with babies) without work. An enormous price to pay for an absurd charge.
We believe that there should be no formal approach in matters of achieving justice. Especially when it comes to the life and health of children. Therefore, we intend to defend our innocence to the end and submit an appeal.
It is not known how long the litigation will last, and we must pay the fines by mid-January. We have always supported people in trouble with publications. For 10 years of work we have helped many: seriously ill children and adults, fire victims, needy and lost. Today we ask for help ourselves.
We are trying to save our media outlet, jobs, independent journalism and are forced to open a fundraiser. We need 460 thousand rubles to pay for this insane, let's not be afraid of this word, fine. If the trial in higher instances ends in our favor, we will donate all the funds raised to a charitable foundation for the treatment of seriously ill children.
Thank you, we hope for you!"
The UfaTime.ru team.
Copies of the court orders are here.