On May 18-19, 2021, the head of the Representation of the UOC to international European organizations, Bishop Viktor Baryshevsky, participated in the OSCE meeting on freedom of the media, which was held in an online format. The event was also attended by the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Teresa Ribeiro, diplomats from OSCE participating States, human rights defenders and journalists. This was reported by the Information and Education Department of the UOC.
Bishop Victor highlighted the main problems of the current situation of the UOC in Ukraine and especially emphasized the role of the media, both in coverage of violations of the rights of believers in the UOC, and in the propaganda of hatred, which is often spread in the Ukrainian media.
Vladyka stressed that impunity for violating the rights of believers in the UOC and negative propaganda in the media form a trend towards crimes on religious grounds.
As an example of media propaganda and rhetoric of hatred against the UOC, the hierarch cited the following excerpts from articles: “In Ukraine, thousands of Kremlin agents in cassocks are clouding the minds of parishioners with daily innuendo, anti-Ukrainian literature is sold in the Kiev-Pechersk and Pochaev Lavras, Moscow priests refuse to funeral service for dead soldiers.” Bishop Victor also noted that representatives of the UOC are not given the opportunity to refute false facts or present an alternative point of view.
On behalf of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Head of the Representation of the UOC to European International Organizations called on the OSCE and representatives of the diplomatic environment to help improve the observance of human rights in the media sphere in Ukraine.