"The journalist is a witness in the case of disclosure of state secrets. The international examination found that the voice belongs to the head of the NABU (National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine- Ed.). However, the investigators must find out when the conversation took place. The journalist refused to disclose the time of the meeting with the leadership of the NABU.
"Therefore, we have no other option than to get a court warrant to obtain the information on the locations of the journalist’s cell-phone over the period of time when the affected person was being wiretapped and her personal data was being disclosed. Investigators require no journalist's communications content," Lutsenko said.
On Aug. 27, the Pechersk district court of Kyiv approved a request from Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office to let investigators review all cell-phone data from a 17-month period of investigative reporter Natalia Sedletska, the host of Schemes, the award-winning anti-corruption TV program by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service and Ukrainian Public Television.
The ruling stemmed from a criminal investigation into the alleged disclosure of state secrets to journalists in 2017 by Artem Sytnyk, director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.
RFE/RL spokeswoman Joanna Levison said the ruling is "inconsistent with Ukraine’s own commitments to promote and protect a free press."
"It creates a chilling atmosphere for journalists and should be nullified," Levison said in a Sept. 4 statement. "That the request targets well over a year's worth of data belonging to a prominent Ukrainian investigative journalist raises deeply troubling questions about the real intent of those seeking the information."