Messages of 11.10.2000
Kharkiv Groip for Human Rights Protection
I am sending you two messages about the execution over the independent Kremenchug publication Informatsiyny bulleten (IB, The informative bulletin).
This history must be published in foreign mass media. We must act very fast, in particular through Amnesty International and by sending letters to the President from the entire world. That is the limit! If they steal the run from the printing shop, then the next step may be physical destruction of the editor Tamara Prosianik. Those whom the truthful world spoils the mood will not stop before anything like in the case of Gongadzes disappearance.
Nobody wants to type IB not only in the Poltava oblast, but also in many neighboring oblasts, such as Dnepropetrovsk, Cherkassy, Kirovograd, Kyiv. Some managers of printing shops, as Tamara told me, do not conceal that they are given a distinct order to refuse the typing under any pretext. The most frequent explanation of the refusal is such: our productive capabilities do not afford to print your materials. I suggested Tamara to use Poltava printing shops since such refusals are great lies; for example the printing shop in Kobeliaki refused to type our bulletin and, at the same time, promised to publish another, loyal, Kremenchug newspaper Programma plus.
It is not difficult to find other proofs that the refusals are ill grounded.
I myself talked with the accountant of Myrgorod printing shop, who confessed that they had a debt of several thousands for wages and that they were very much interested in any orders. During the past election campaign printing shops of the Poltava oblast were not ten times, but hundred times productive than now. There exist documents, which describe the productive potential of printing shops. I suggested to Tamara to go this way to make clear the lies of printing shop managers and make them to be materially responsible for their lies and recompense the losses inflicted to IB by the arbitrary actions of the authorities. Tamara said that they had no money for an advocate; besides, not a single advocate from Poltava or Kremenchug will agree to take this case.
Yevgeniy, I ask you (the more so that it lies in the framework of your project), to do your best for the protection of the brave collective of the IB and to grant us juridical aid by qualified advocates. This will be the defense of the freedom of speech in the Poltava oblast.
If they strangle the IB, it will mean that the freedom of speech in the oblast will be completely smashed… I agree to aid you as much as I can, but, unfortunately, the Poltava human rights protection organizations do not yet such force as the sister-organizations in Kharkov and Kyiv.
Ludmila Kucherenko, President of the Media Club of Poltava region
LAW-ENFORCING BODIES ARE INTERESTED IN THE PRESS TOO MUCH
As it became known, on 21 September in the building of the local prosecutors office a commission of experts signed a protocol that concerns the newspaper Informatsiyny bulleten. The workers of the prosecutors office introduced to this expert commission some philologists (teachers of secondary schools), specialists in art and an editor of a local newspaper. A question was put before the experts: to assess from the professional viewpoint the publications in the IB where it is written about the person of the President of Ukraine and to determine whether these publications contain information that humiliate the honor and dignity of the President.
After studying the text and pictures the experts came to the conclusion that the materials so not contain anything that humiliates honor and dignity of the President. All the experts signed the protocol with these conclusions.
As it became known, the local prosecutors office resumed the investigation after the documents returned from Poltava. This means that the oblast authorities decided to finish the case, but this is an assumption.
We shall remind the reader that the libel case lasts from the middle of summer. It is noteworthy that the oblast authorities demonstrate a certain activity in the case. That is quite understandable since the governor is appointed and is dismissed by the President.
Larisa Artemenko.Newspaper Telegraf, No. 39 (108), 28 September 2000
THE RUN OF THE CONSECUTIVE NUMBER OF THE OPPOSITION KREMENCHUG NEWSPAPER INFORMATSIYNY BULLETEN IS STOLEN FROM A KYIV PRINTING SHOP
As Tamara Prosianik, the editor of the opposition Kremenchug newspaper Informatsiyny bulleten informed, on 27 September some persons, who showed the ID of USS officers, carried away to the destination unknown all the printed run of the newspaper No. 39 from a Kyiv printing shop Ukrainska kniga. They declared that if the printing shop continues to type this newspaper, the printing shop would be closed. Beforehand, the opposition newspaper got refusals from state and private printing shops of the Poltava oblast; it was done under the pressure of law-enforcing bodies and the administration.
The newspaper IB permanently criticized the corruption at the top of the Ukrainian power. In the stolen issue the newspaper published materials about O. Volkov, P. Lazarenko, about the allegedly disclosed by the USS an attempt to overcome the constitutional order, the appeal of the UNP Sobor (Ukrainian National Party Sobor) about initiating the impeachment procedure of President L. Kuchma.
UNP Sobor regards what happened in the printing shop in the street Pryrichna as an extraordinary dangerous precedent. The organization whose duty is to protect the constitutional order carries out direct anti-legal robbers actions with respect to the opposition press. This incident happens on the background of the USS inability to unclose the disappearance of the independent journalist G. Gongadze, who also was a consecutive critic of the existing regime.
UNP Sobor demands from the top state authorities - President L. Kuchma, the Supreme Radas speaker L. Pliushch, Prime-Minister V. Yushchenko, secretary of the Rada of peoples security of Ukraine E. Marchuk - to give the political assessment of such actions of the USS. We express solidarity with journalists of the IB and demand to stop the persecution of independent journalists.
IF WE DO NOT PROTECT THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH TODAY, WE SHALL HAVE THE FASCIST - OLIGARCHIC POWER TOMORROW.
The UNP Sobor press-service
28 September 2000
SVIP COMMENT. At a first glance the case is without precedents: USS officers confiscate a run of an independent newspaper. Yet, there is no proof of this action except a telephone call from a worker of the printing house «Ukrainska kniga». I am sure that the USS authorities will deny any participation of their officers in this case. In general, it is doubtful that the USS would violate the law so openly and brutally. It is not known whether the run of the newspaper has been really confiscated, since no documents remained. According to Ludmila Kucherenko, no expenditures have been returned. The newspaper would rather turn to the arbitrage court, but, as it appeared, no agreements was fixed with «Ukrainska kniga»; likewise there were no agreements with other printing shops that refused to print the newspaper. So, the legal base for defending the newspaper is scarce. The disappearance of the run from the printing house is a hard fact, and the prosecutors office, to which editor-in-chief Tamara Prosianik turned, must start an investigation of this fact. Will the newspaper publish? Where will it print? It will be essential factor for evaluation of status of freedom of expression in Ukraine. Kharkiv Group for human rights protection intends to monitor for events and inform readers. Besides, we will try to assistance to the «IB».