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Pressure and threats aimed at Texty.org.ua reported after publication of study on opponents of Ukraine aid in US

Thursday, 13 June 2024, 12:51
Pressure and threats aimed at Texty.org.ua reported after publication of study on opponents of Ukraine aid in US
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The Ukrainian edition of Texty.org.ua has reported they faced pressure and threats from American politicians and officials after the agency published a study on people and organisations in the United States that oppose support for Ukraine.

Source: Texty.org.ua 

Quote: "We, the team at the Ukrainian data journalism agency Texty.org.ua and an independent public organisation, are reporting unprecedented pressure, manipulation, slander, demands to strip us of donor funding, and threats of physical violence that we have faced following the publication of our research ‘Roller Coaster: From Trumpists to Communists, Who and How They Advocate for Ending Support to Ukraine’."

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Details: This study, which contains a list of organisations and people who oppose support for Ukraine in the United States, was published on 6 June 2024.

The journalists analysed the arguments of the opposition using open sources, including official ones, and compared them with common Russian narratives. In addition, Texty.org investigated how people and organisations from the list interact with each other in the public space, and some of them – with Russian media and state institutions. 

"We do not label the subjects of this research as enemies of Ukraine, nor do we dispute or condemn their right to freedom of expression. We merely state the fact that they oppose support for Ukraine and that many of their arguments resonate with Russian propaganda narratives about Ukraine," the publication notes. 

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Following the study's publication, Ron Paul Institute Director Daniel McAdams said that Texty.org, funded by the US government, had created a hate list of American citizens. As evidence of US government funding, McAdams notes that one of the publication's co-founders, Anatolii Bondarenko, was trained as part of the US government's TechCAMP project. The editors, for their part, claim that Bondarenko acted pro bono as a data journalism coach in this project in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

However, this information began to spread to other conservative publications and far-right and left-wing American activists. According to journalists, they attacked the editorial office of Texty.org.ua, threatening the article's authors in particular.

On 11 June, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene also named the study of the publication a list of enemies and stated that Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is behind this.

On 12 June, FOX News reported that Senator J. D. Vance and member of the US House of Representatives Matt Gaetz called on US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to send them information about the Ukrainian non-governmental organisation Texty.org.ua until 28 June. They also appealed to the House Appropriations Committee to stop US support of the publication. The committee has adopted this resolution.

On 13 June, Elon Musk, the owner of the social network X (Twitter), who was mentioned in the study by journalists Texty.org.ua, called to add the publication to the list of terrorist organisations.

"We view this campaign as an attack on freedom of speech and a display of chauvinism against the citizens of Ukraine. Our critics believe that we do not have the right to investigate the streams of false information they produce about our country and us, simply because they are US citizens and we are not," the editorial board of Texty.org.ua added. 

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