15.12.2003 | Yuri Chorney, Chernivtsy

3000 journalists of the Kyiv oblast supported their Chernivtsy colleagues


The Kyiv organization of the National union of journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), the greatest Ukrainian trade union of journalists, resolutely supported the efforts of the Chernivtsy journalists community “to stop the savage pressure exerted by the insolent authorities on the freedom of speech and democratic principles stipulated by the Constitution”. The telegram of 27 May 2003 is signed by Igor Zaseda, the head of the Kyiv oblast organization and the secretary of the NUJU, on behalf of 3000 members. In particular, the appeal states: “Teofil Bauer, the head of the Chernivtsy oblast state administration, is known as a persecutor of the freedom of speech, and he is unworthy of occupying his high post”.

The Kyiv journalists declare that they respect their Chernivtsy colleagues “for courage and honesty, for the intentions to selflessly struggle for justice”. “If we would not join our efforts in the struggle against the adherents of the “Soviet freedom of speech”, we would lost out freedom”, the telegram reads. The Kyiv journalists concluded their appeal with the slogan: “We will struggle and we will win!”

The solidarity showed by Chernivtsy journalists, great public resonance and the support on the side of the all-Ukrainian journalists union had some effect and made the Chernivtsy authorities to retreat. On 29 May the press service of the oblast administration published the appeal of governor Teofil Bauer to the representatives of oblast mass media. From the very beginning the appeal demonstrated the unwillingness (or inability?) of the governor to understand the role of the representatives of mass media in any civilized society. The principal position of the journalists, who were asserting their rights, is called “ambitions” and “PR-campaign against the oblast administration and governor, which displays the features of simple political order and has nothing common with truth – the main criterion of journalistic activities”. Yet, after the general words about his successful work on the post of the head of the oblast (the successfulness of this work can be assessed by the dwellers of the oblast, which is one of the poorest in Ukraine) Teofil Bauer recognized the existence of some “errors and drawbacks” in his work, as well as of the conflict “in the relations between the power and a part of journalists’ community of the region”. This statement arouses optimism, since it was declared by the state official, who earlier had been sure of his impeccability.

Finally, T. Bauer appealed “to the workers of oblast mass media, independently of their status and political orientation, to be tolerant and steady in their relations with the power, to elucidate the events and facts objectively”. In order to demonstrate his “good will” the governor declared his decision to call away “some claims against mass media and journalists, since these claims can become a destabilizing factor in the process of the development of the regional informational space. Let the publication of these editions, which are far from the actual situation in the oblast, be on conscience of their authors”. Now Teofil Bauer hopes for the “steps of the representatives of main regional mass media towards the establishment of the constructive cooperation between mass media and local organs of state power”.

Yet, it is doubtful that the governor, who savagely persecuted mass media for the long time, will now become a friend of journalists. Moreover, it will hardy help him, since the majority of oblast mass media proclaimed their editorial boards as “territories free from Teofil Bauer”, and the motto “Bukovina without Bauer” still remains actual.

29 May 2003

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