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08.04.2004

First sitting of the press-club of the trade union of independent journalists (Odessa)

   

On 6 June the first sitting of the press-club of the trade union of independent journalists was conducted in Odessa. Along with other interesting topics, the participants of the sitting discussed the plans on the protection of the workers of regional mass media from the pressure exerted by power.

The initial sitting of the press-club coincided with the Day of journalists, so this topic was the most important one at the sitting.

Leonid Zaslavskiy, the head of the regional trade union of independent journalists, said:

“In 2002 the journalism was gradually losing its positions. Journalists did not pay attention to socially important topics. The majority of them were controlled by the power.

The small number of journalists, who were protecting the rights of the Odessa dwellers, had to retire.

There are very few newspapers and TV channels in the city, which may be called independent. The majority of mass media prefer to express the viewpoint of the power. I believe that those, who serve to the power, have no right to call themselves journalists. They are ordinary servants and nothing more”.

The opinions expressed by the participants of the press-club were very different, and Leonid Zaslavskiy was highly pleased by that.

“Ukrainian journalists are not worse than foreign ones. Maybe, our power differs from the power in other countries, but we hope that it will change in the nearest future.

Our task is to keep our eyes open, to write truth, to collect, summarize and spread the information”.

Well-known Odessa journalists Mikhail Aksaniuk, Igor Rozov, Olga Kologriova, Tatiana Gerasimova, Ganna Berdichevskaya, Leonid Shtekel and others took the active part in the discussion.

The impression of Igor Grinshtein, the permanent chairman of the sittings of the press-club, was also positive.

“Our first sitting was very successful. If our plans would be fulfilled, then Odessa journalists would feel their force soon, and our press-club would begin to work professionally.

The topics for the sittings will be suggested by the life, since our country is unpredictable, and nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. Yet, it is already known today that the presidential election will be held soon, so the topics connected with the election will be discussed in the press-club. We will debate about the candidates and about the preparation to the election on the side of power structures, which have already intensified the pressure on mass media”, said I. Grinshtein.

On 7 June the second issue of “Odesska zagalna gazeta” will be published; many materials will be connected with the problems of the freedom of speech and the questions of the protection of journalists’ rights in Odessa and the Odessa oblast.

The first issue of “Odesska zagalna gazeta” was published as early as in 2000, later it continued to appear in the Internet-version under the editorship of journalist Sergey Kovalinskiy.

Igor Stoliarov, Odessa

(“Prava ludyny” (Ukrainian version), No. 16, 1-15 June 2003)

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