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Freedom Heart Ukraine

Ottawa Citizen’s Pugliese once again attacks Mriya Aid

Aug 18, 2023 | Editorials, Featured

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (demining) operator training supported by Mriya Aid. Photo: Mriya Aid

By Marco Levytsky Editorial Writer.

Last month the Ottawa Citizen’s David Pugliese decided once again to vilify his favorite targets – a free and independent Ukraine, and the Canadian Armed Forces. The result was yet another attack on Mriya Aid, a charitable organization which was founded by members of the Canadian Armed Forces and civilians to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine and non-lethal equipment for the Ukrainian Armed Forces Uk( This was the third time he had targeted Mriya Aid and basically it was a rehash of the previous two.

“We were dismayed that a large Canadian media outlet fell victim to Russian influence and became a tool of the Kremlin, twisting and manipulating the truth, feeding into Russian disinformation, and amplifying the despicable defamation and harassment against our Ukrainian and Canadian volunteers,” Mriya Aid’s Board of Directors said in a statement prepared especially for New Pathway – Ukrainian News (see page 6).

As we have commented previously, Pugliese is a master of distortion in that he manipulates the facts to include only those that fit his political agenda and selects his sources accordingly while completely ignoring those facts that run contrary to his narrative.

To mention just a few of his biased anti-Ukrainian pieces, he has written:

• That the reason for Russia’s aggression in Ukraine was NATO’s decision to expand into East European countries which had previously suffered under Russian occupation;
• That “Chrystia Freeland’s granddad was indeed a Nazi collaborator – so much for Russian disinformation”, as the headline to his March 8, 2017 story read;
• That the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) were “Nazis” and that its commander, Roman Shukhevych participated in the 1941 massacre of Jews in Lviv, despite documented evidence that he had warned his troops against taking part in what he termed a “German provocation”;
• That the Galicia Division were also “Nazis” and participated in war crimes, This, despite the fact they were cleared three times by British and Canadian authorities, most recently by the 1986 “Commission of Inquiry on War Crimes”, headed by Justice Jules Deschênes;
• That a 2019 ceremony of sanctification of the future “Remember” Memorial Complex in Sambir, Lviv Oblast, to victims of World War II which included a monument to 17 young Ukrainians, members of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), who were shot by the Nazis in July 1944, angered Jewish groups. In an attempt to substantiate his claim Pugliese quoted Eduard Dolinsky, director-general of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee — a pro-Russian fringe group, while ignoring the fact that the event was organized by the Kyiv City Jewish Committee and the Toronto-based Ukrainian Jewish Encounter and was attended by the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine Yaakov Dov Bleich.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress has complained to the Ottawa Citizen regarding his unbalanced and unethical reporting, which sets out to disseminate Russian propaganda. He has been labelled as “an undesirable person” in Ukraine.

According to an April 3 story in the Kyiv Post by Jason Jay Smart “the title of ‘undesirable person’ has no legal ramifications but documents seen by Kyiv Post confirm that Pugliese has been a subject of concern for Ukrainian officials due to his writings which often echo Kremlin talking points.

“A former senior Canadian government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, echoed this view, telling the Kyiv Post that in his many years “of having watched how Pugliese works – Pugliese has all the marks of a ‘grey zone’ media operator, who could be ‘incentivized and tasked to carry messages and to focus on issues as per Kremlin direction’.

Yet both The Ottawa Citizen and its parent company, Post Media, which is the largest newspaper chain in Canada, have not only refused to do anything about Pugliese’s unscrupulous reporting, but, to their eternal shame, they have also denied his victims the right to clarify the facts and publish the truth in response.

For Post Media, which has the audacity to describe itself as a reputable and responsible media corporation “delivering sound, trusted and high-quality journalism to Canadians”, this is absolutely disgraceful.

Not only is Pugliese blatantly regurgitating Russian propaganda, but is also committing the following journalistic transgressions:

• He makes no attempt to deliver a balanced report, but shamelessly delivers just one side of the story – the one that fits his and Moscow’s agenda.
• He deliberately sets out to find sources that will fit in with his agenda regardless of their credibility
• He then chooses to ignore any evidence of their lack of credibility when it is pointed out to him

His objective is to smear Ukrainians as Nazis, which serves to justify Russia’s genocidal war, and discredit any organizations like Mriya Aid that are providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine. It should be noted that Mriya Aid has also been targeted by the Kremlin, as evidenced by members of their board having been among the 100 Canadians sanctioned by the Russian Foreign Minister in November of last year.

As we mentioned before, our community must continue to impress upon the Citizen and its parent company Postmedia that publishing Pugliese’s blatant anti-Ukrainian propaganda is a gross violation of all ethical standards that constitute responsible journalism. Persuading Post Media to do the right thing may seem like an impossible task, but we have to keep trying. The truth, after all, is on our side. Our duty is to ensure that it prevails.

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