Russian Embassy comment regarding the broadcast of the Channel 4 film on the situation of children evacuated from new Russian regions and Ukraine.
Just as we had anticipated, the documentary “Hunt for Ukraine’s Stolen Children. Dispatches” aired on November 13th by Channel 4, did not venture beyond the boundaries of the stale anti-Russian “agitprop,” for which British media over the last years have become renowned.
▪Once more, viewers were presented with a politically biased and factually unsubstantiated piece. Its intention is to discredit the valiant efforts of Russian military personnel, as well the Russian Federation Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Ms Maria Lvova-Belova to organise the humanitarian evacuation of children from active combat zones to more secure Russian regions, their reception and accommodation, as well as the establishment of guardianship and wardship over them.
▪Speculations on this issue have long been debunked through statistics and facts. The Office of the Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights regularly releases reports on the matter, widely available to the public in English and Russian.
▪Instead of referring to these materials, which convincingly demonstrate the unwavering commitment of Russian authorities to the rights of the child, Channel 4’s team preferred to reproduce speculations based on cynically misleading the audience through manipulation with video footage and facts.
The staged nature of some scenes is evident, including the Ukrainian “activists” interaction with children who have returned to their relatives in the territory controlled by the Kiev authorities.
On 7 November a Channel 4 editorial team representative sent a query to the Embassy requesting answers to a series of accusatory and, in some instances, evidently provocative questions. The calculation was clearly that we would not want or be able to react to the insinuations of pro-Kiev journalists within the specified deadline. However Channel 4’s expectations were not met. We prepared exhaustive answers to each of the accusations on six pages, as well as additional information with statements from Russian officials. The Embassy promptly sent them to the editorial team of the British channel.
However, out of all the diverse information we provided, Channel 4 aired only one phrase, devoid of context – that the children travelled to Crimea for their summer holidays. And even this with the clear intention of drawing attention to London’s disagreement with the status of the peninsula as part of the Russian Federation, voluntarily determined by its residents following the democratic referendum in March 2014.
Thus, Channel 4 chose to undermine the fundamental principle of professional journalism – the need for balanced representation of all points of view. With this in mind we feel the need to correct the imbalance created by the British channel. We are therefore publishing the original text of our comments, sent in response to the above-mentioned request.
As for the deliberate discrediting of actions of Russian military personnel by Channel 4, this will not pass without a due response.