Aid to the

A study by the Ukrainian edition of TEXTY about American politicians led to accusations of terrorism: what happened?

The Ukrainian publication TEXTY has come under pressure after publishing a study on American politicians who oppose support for Ukraine. The editorial team faced threats and manipulations, including a proposal by Elon Musk to add the publication to the list of terrorist organisations. The journalists denied allegations of funding from the US government and stressed the importance of freedom of speech. They view the campaign against them as an attempt to suppress independent journalism.

Putting the Ukrainian edition of TEXTY, known for its data analytics, on the list of terrorist organizations? How about that, Elon Musk?! Yes, that’s what Musk himself is proposing.

While the first sentence may seem absurd, the situation with TEXTY is indeed serious. After publishing a study about American politicians and organizations advocating to end aid to Ukraine, TEXTY faced pressure, threats, and demands to cut off their donor funding. 

So, what exactly happened?

On June 6, 2024, TEXTY released a study titled “American rollercoaster: From Trumpists to Communists. The forces in the U.S. campaigning to halt aid to Ukraine and how they do it.” 

According to the editorial staff, the analysis was conducted independently with the support of their readers. The media outlet analyzes the political, media, and expert environment in the United States, which influences decision-making on further support for Ukraine in the Russian-Ukrainian war.

As evidence, the study includes a table listing organizations and individuals in the U.S. who oppose aid to Ukraine. The list comprises 388 people and 76 organizations, including politicians, political movements and groups, media outlets, journalists, experts, and think tanks. The journalists emphasize that the list does not claim to be exhaustive. 

The report analyzes the arguments of those opposing support for Ukraine, compares them with common Russian narratives, and debunks them, providing arguments and references to sources. 

TEXTY notes that all the data used in the study were sourced from open and official platforms.

What happened next?

Shortly after the publication, Ron Paul Institute Director Daniel McAdams posted a message on social network X (formerly known as Twitter), and later an article on the Institute’s website. He claimed that, allegedly funded by the U.S. government, had created a “hate list” of U.S. citizens. As evidence of U.S. government funding, he cited that one of the media’s co-founders, Anatoliy Bondarenko, had been trained as part of the TechCAMP project.

Following this, other conservative publications and far-right and left-wing activists began spreading manipulative information, personally attacking the editorial board and authors, and issuing threats against them. 

On June 11, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene labeled the publication an “enemies list” and blamed President Zelenskyy for it. The next day, FOX News reported that Senator J.D. Vance and Congressman Matt Gaetz urged Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to provide information about and asked the House Appropriations Committee to stop supporting the outlet. 

On June 13, Elon Musk, who was mentioned in the study, joined the campaign against TEXTY, endorsing the call to withdraw donor support and even suggesting that the media be added to the list of terrorist organizations.

What does the TEXTY editorial team have to say about this?

On June 13, the Ukrainian data journalism agency TEXTY reported facing pressure and threats against its team. 

The editorial board clarified that they did not label the individuals in their study as “enemies of Ukraine,” nor did they challenge or condemn their right to freedom of expression. Instead, they simply stated the fact that these individuals oppose support for Ukraine.

The journalists refuted accusations of being funded by the U.S. government, explaining that Anatoliy Bondarenko had actually served as a pro bono data journalism trainer for the project in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

The TEXTY journalists see the campaign against them as an attack on freedom of speech and an expression of chauvinism against Ukrainian citizens. They emphasize their right to investigate and report on what is said about Ukraine, particularly the false information that is disseminated against their country.

Is there anything in the study that makes the journalists terrorists? (This point is written specifically for visionaries)

According to the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, terrorism includes acts of violence or threats of violence intended to intimidate, spread fear, and achieve political, economic, or religious goals. 

The research and publication of data by journalists, based on open sources, do not contain any violent calls, let alone violent actions. They do not threaten, intimidate, harass, or force anyone to fulfill certain demands.

Ironically, the journalists are being accused of the very actions they themselves are facing. TEXTY is accused of suppressing freedom of speech, while their opponents are suppressing freedom of speech in Ukraine with manipulative posts, threats against them, appeals to U.S. agencies to stop allegedly funding the media outlet, etc small logo

фактчекерка на всі крильця
Halyna Dolynna
Halyna Dolynna
editor of the English texts
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