12.12.2001 | Igor Stoliarov, Odessa

Independent press in the Internet


Having collided with the sanctions from the authorities, the Odessa independent press is leaking to the worldwide network Internet. A site has been created, where two Odessa newspapers are placed. In these virtual newspapers it is possible to dare to speak things unthinkable in the so-called ‘real’ press.

Editor-in-chief of the newspaper ‘Odessa glasnost’ Aleksandr Knop was the first, who created the Internet-page of his newspaper. To publish the newspaper in hard copy was already impossible. Before this the newspaper collective went through a fight with the administration of local trade unions. Assisted by militia, the trade union bosses did not return them the needed equipment. After the newspaper was ousted from the building of the Odessa law-enforcing academy (headed by Valeriy Kochetov), it found the final refuge in the Internet, where they updated the information every week. Yet, this lasted not very long. The newspaper was not financed. Potential donors are afraid to support the independent press in Odessa, since they may be pressed by the authorities and law-enforcing organs.

Now the site is not updated any more, but the editor is not loosing hope. He works in the Jewish newspaper ‘Shomrey Shabos’. He said to our correspondent that, if a sponsor appears, the ‘Odessa glasnost’ will be resumed, at least in the Internet.

The same lot has the well-known oppositional youth newspaper ‘Rabota ta vidpochinok’: it stopped to be updated because of lack of financing.

Only one independent newspaper – ‘Odesska zagalna gazeta’ is still being printed. Eight issues of the newspaper have already been published. The newspaper publishes articles of such well-known Odessa journalist as Ganna Berdichevska and Igor Rozov, excerpts from a new book by Lev Vershinin, which satirically reflects the events of the recent election of the city mayor.

On the pages of this newspaper several interesting interviews with MPs Yuri Karmazin and Eduard Gurvits were placed. A lot of photo materials of the action ‘Ukraine without Kuchma’, the reference to the site of the committee ‘Za pravdu’ (‘For truth’) and the Appeal of its city organization are placed there as well.

The popularity of ‘Odesska zagalna gazeta’ is also confirmed by the forum placed on the site, where everybody has an opportunity to express his opinion about the published materials. A torrent of comments was caused by the article ‘Vlada ta korruptsia’ (‘Power and corruption’) by Svitlana Obukhova. Not a single ‘real’ newspaper dared to reprint the article.

Sergey Kovalinskiy, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper commented: ‘Not only users from Ukraine attend the newspaper site. The statistics fixed even readers from the Caribbeans, Peru, the USA, Germany, Canada and Australia.

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