The Appeal of the conference of Ukrainian journalists „Political censorship in Ukraine“.
We, representatives of various mass media, the journalist community and public organizations, state that political censorship does exist in Ukraine.
First of all, on the side of the Administration and the President, organs of the executive power and financial business structures supporting them.
In the appendix of this Appeal we give the definition of political censorship.
With the aim to oppose the political censorship as an anti-Constitutional phenomena, which impedes journalists to fulfil their professional duty to present the unbiased and truthful information, with the aim to protect the rights of journalists and the Ukrainian citizens right „to know“, we decided:
• To create the Independent trade union of journalists (ITUJ), which will protect the possibility to fulfil the professional journalists duties properly and the rights of all people, who signed or will sign „The manifesto of the Ukrainian journalists concerning political censorship“ or was included in the list of the participants of the conference „Political censorship in Ukraine“.
• By the consent of those, who voluntarily joined the above-mentioned list, to regard the fact of signing the manifesto or inclusion in the list of the participants of the conference as the application about joining the ITUJ.
This procedure will be valid until the process of registering the trade union is finished. Later the procedure of the acceptance to the trade union will be defined in the state documents of the union.
• To elect the Organizational committee for solving all organizational problems of creating the ITUJ. The composition of the committee: Evhen Glibovitskiy, Boris Grivachevskiy, Sergiy Guz, Oles Kovalchuk, Igor Kulias, Nataliya Ligachova, Roman Skrypin, Albina Trubenkova, Viktor Ukolov, Andrey Shevchenko and Danilo Yanevskiy.
• To create the Strike committee that will have the duty and right to present the demands of the ITUJ conferences to the power and other subjects of political relations in the country, to carry on negotiations and, by the agreement of the majority of the ITUJ members, to initiate the journalists actions of civil disobedience.
• To include to the composition of the Strike committee the following persons: Volodymir Aryev, Evhen Glibovitskiy, Boris Grivachevskiy, Oleksandr Krivenko, Yulia Mostova, Olena Pritula, Sergey Rakhmanin, Roman Skrypin, Taras Strilchyk, Albina Trubenkova and Andrey Shevchenko.
• To give the Strike committee the errand to begin the negotiations with the power and to proclaim our first demands addressed to:
• The Supreme Rada: to conduct in a month the Parliamentary hearings on the problems of political censorship with the participation of MPs, the President of Ukraine, representatives of the executive power, Presidential Administration, public organizations and journalists including the members of the ITUJ. To profile committee of the Supreme Rada in charge of the freedom of speech and information: to regulate legislatively the concept „political censorship“ and the responsibility for using the censorship;
• The owners and founders of mass media of all forms of property: to proclaim the moratorium for fire of journalists because of political reasons until the question about political censorship is regulated legislatively, but not less than for six months;
• The General Prosecutors office: to start the criminal cases for violating Article 171 of the Criminal Code, which envisages the responsibility for premeditated impeding to the professional activities of journalists;
• The General Prosecutors office: to initiate the court process and punishment of the actual guilty of the death of our colleagues – Georgiy Gongadze and Igor Aleksandrov.
The participants of the conference of the Ukrainian journalists inform about their demands the Supreme Rada, MPs, President of Ukraine, Head of the Presidential Administration, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, international and Ukrainian public, owners, founders and managers of mass media of all forms of property.
The appeal was signed by 91 participants of the conference of Ukrainian journalists „Political censorship in Ukraine“.
THE APPENDIX TO THE APPEAL OF THE CONFERENCE „POLITICAL CENSORSHIP IN UKRAINE“.
We belive that, according to Article 5 of the Law „On information“, Articles 2 and 6 of the Law „On printed mass media (press) in Ukraine“, Article 2 of the Law „On TV and radio broadcasting“ and our personal experience of the work in various mass media, the following activities may be regarded as political censorship:
• The demand to agree beforehand the materials and informational messages, as well as the prohibition to publish the materials and messages on the side of the state organs, enterprises, establishments, organizations or unions of citizens (political parties), excluding the cases, where the official is the author of this information was interviewed;
• The prohibition on the side of the above-listed subjects, as well as owners and founders of mass media, to elucidate certain political and economic topics or the activities of the political and public figures, which violates the citizens right for obtaining from mass media the unbiased and truthful information;
• The pressure on the owners, founders and editors of mass media on the side of the above-listed subjects with the aim of dictating the character of interpretation of facts and events, with the aim of manipulation with information and public opinion and with the aim of impeding mass media to obey the principles of ideological and political pluralism;
• The psychological pressure upon a journalist on the side of the above-listed subjects, as well as owners, founders and managers of mass media with the aim to made the journalist to refuse from the publication of his material;
• The attempts of the above-listed subjects to monopolize (by economic, political and forceful methods) the informational space, to dictate to the great number of mass media the unified standard of the information policy;
• The attempts of the above-listed subjects, as well as owners, founders and managers of mass media to impede the professional activities of journalists, which are stated in Article 26 of the Law „On printed mass media (press) in Ukraine“.
We are sure that there are very distinct criteria to distinguish the Editorial Policy of an edition from Censorship.
The Editorial Policy must meet all the demands of the operating laws of Ukraine and the Constitution. It may and must be openly announced by owners, founders and editors of mass media.
All other forms and methods of influencing the mass media activities and the content of published information is Censorship.
Kyiv, 05 October 2002