During the election of Zaporozhye mayor the town TV channels gave preference to one candidate
Every hour during the day of election the radio stations “Nostalzhi” (FM 107.5) and “Velikiy Lug” (FM 101.8) transmitted the information about the course of voting with the comments of the Voters Committee of Ukraine. All in all, 16 messages from the Zaporozhye VCU were transmitted by these radio stations during the day.
On the day of election Denis Piatigorets, the press secretary of the Zaporozhye VCU, and Oleksiy Koshel, a deputy head of the administration of the VCU, gave the interviews to the TV channel “Novy kanal”, to informational agencies UNIAN and “Interfax”, and to the newspaper “Region-Ekspress”.
On 9 June the representatives of the Zaporozhye VCU gave the interviews, in which they commented the results of the election and the independent observation, to the following mass media:
TV companies: “Novy kanal”, “1+1”, “Inter”, “STB”, Zaporozhye oblast state TV company.
Radio companies: “Nostalzhi”, “Velikiy Lug” + the 15-minute interview for “Gromadske radio” and “Radio tri”.
Internet-editions: “Forum”, “UNIAN”, “Interfax”, “Internews”, “Politichna Ukraina”.
The results of the observation by the VCU representatives of the preparation and course of the election campaign and the voting confirmed that the campaign for the election of the Zaporozhye mayor did not give to candidates the equal opportunities of the access to mass media and the conduction of pre-election struggle; it was accompanied with the pressure on the voters and subjects of the election process, mass and cynical use of “administrative resource”. Here the appeal of Evhen Kartashov, the candidate to the mayors post, should be noted: he stated that the complete democracy and the freedom of speech existed in Zaporozhye and said: “Why the TV channel “TV-5” shows only me? Maybe, this is their style of work”.
According to the results of the election of the Zaporozhye mayor, which took place on 8 June 2003, the mayors post was occupied by Zaporozhye governor E. Kartashov.
During the election campaign the TV channels “TV-5” and “Zaporizhzhia” elucidated the activities of E. Kartashov only. The materials were issued for several times in every block of news. No other candidates were shown. Moreover, “TV-5” officially refused to candidate Volodymir Kaltsev, who even proposed to pay money for the broadcasting of his speech at this channel. The only TV company, which elucidated the activities of other candidates, was the TRC “Aleks”. Yet, five days before the election “Aleks” began to refuse the air to all other subjects of the election process except governor Kartashov.
The above-mentioned phrase of E. Kartashov, which was pronounced on the eve of the election, looks rather cynical on this background.
The mayors election in Zaporozhye proved once more than the freedom of speech in the oblast is a very relative concept, which may be explained only by the power!
11 June 2003, the Zaporozhye oblast branch of the Voters Committee of Ukraine