Voice Of America Scrambles To Scrub Journalist’s Stories From Site After Shocking Charges
Voice of America has been working diligently to try and remove the work of a freelance journalist from its website after the individual was arrested by Polish officials on suspicions of being a Russian spy, stating the agency is now “thoroughly reviewing” the published works.
According to reports, there are at least six pieces authored by reported Pablo Gonzalez, who was taken into custody on February 28 near the border between Poland-Ukraine, that have disappeared from the organization’s site. Gonzalez has been charged with working as an agent of the GRU, which is Russia’s military intelligence agency.
Gonzalez, whom a top Polish counterintelligence agency said was of Russian origin, “was never a VOA employee, nor did he have a contract directly with” the agency, VOA spokeswoman Bridget Serchak said Monday.
“As a freelancer, his services were arranged through a third party company used by news organizations around the world,” she went on to say. “While VOA is currently unaware of any information that would confirm the allegations against this freelancer, out of an abundance of caution, VOA has removed all of González’s content from its websites and social media accounts and is thoroughly reviewing the stories.”
The organization noted Gonzalez’s arrest in an article published last Wednesday about a journalist killed by a Russian airstrike in Kyiv, writing that he had “filed some stories for VOA in 2020 and 2021.”
The Internal Security Agency, one of Poland’s intelligence agencies, alleged that Gonzalez operated under the guise of being a journalist to collect information on behalf of the Russian government. He has allegedly carried out operations in Poland and two other countries.
“Before his detention, he was planning to go to Ukraine in order to continue his activity,” the agency went on to say.
According to the release, the journalist was carrying two passports along with two Russian IDs that were attributed to two different names. Yeah, that doesn’t look suspicious or anything, right?
“We are concerned by Poland’s indictment of Spanish freelance reporter Pablo González on charges of spying for Russia,” Attila Mong, Europe representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists, went on to say in a statement Friday.
“Polish authorities must guarantee that González has access to proper legal representation and a fair and transparent legal procedure, and ensure he is not sanctioned for his journalistic activities,” Mong continued. “Reporting is not a crime.”
The organization has revealed that it has been in contact with Gonzalez’s attorney, Gonzalo Boye, who stated that his client was questioned by authorities without legal representation present.
Boye also stated that Gonzalez was not allowed to speak with anyone abroad in the days following his arrest.
“We are waiting for the Spanish consulate to arrange a permit for me to visit him in prison,” he said.