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12.12.2001

The authorities of the Nikolayev oblast started the new stage of fighting the freedom of speech

   

Radio ‘Liberty’ and the author’s feature of the local Popular Rukh became the first victims of the campaign.

The oblast authorities have never cherished oppositional mass media. For example, they do not admit the newsmen from the newspaper ‘Ukrainskiy Pivden’ to the sessions of the oblast council and to the conferences held by the oblast administration. In the notorious case in Pervomayskiy district and during the protest actions against the widening of the Tashlitska hydro-accumulating station obstacles were organized in getting the information. Now the administration has another headache -- the action ‘Ukraine without Kuchma’.

According to Yuri Didenko, the head of the Nikolayev branch of the Popular Rukh, ‘the state with the freedom of speech in the oblast does not cause noticeable optimism. The pressure on the mass media is increasing. One of the fresh examples is the ban of radio ‘Liberty’ that was retranslated by the local radio station ‘Mykolayiv’.

Further Yuri Didenko said:

‘The inhabitants of the Nikolayev oblast and neighboring oblasts have accustomed to listen to radio ‘Liberty’, which reports on the recent events in Ukraine as always objectively. Alas, already for a week the listeners are deprived of these transmissions. That is the reason why many inhabitants of the region turn to the local Rukh organization and to the newspaper ‘Ukrainskiy Pivden’, but they do not receive a concrete answer. Hat is clear is this termination of the transmissions is initiated by the local authorities headed by Aleksey Garkusha, a member of the Agrarian party of Ukraine’.

Yuri Didenko did not believe the spread explanations about technical reasons. He said: ‘Technical problems always existed. But they lasted less then a day and so only some materials were omitted. And now the translation has been terminated for a week…’

The official explanations seem especially shaky because simultaneously the author’s feature of the head of the local Rukh organization, devoted to the problems of reforming the agrarian sector in the region, was stopped to be transmitted as well. This feature quoted letters from listeners on this topic, appeals to the Popular Rukh from the people, who suffer in the process of getting their land plots and property or during compensation payments. The feature often criticized the oblast and district authorities

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