Olena Holiuk, RUPOR

Ukrainian mass media still preserve the features of authoritarian press


Summarizing results of interaction of mass media and the new government during the first hundred days, media experts point out some improvement of standards of journalistic activities, but the situation with the freedom of speech remains far from ideal.

Yesterday, at a press-conference at UNIAN, representatives of the Academy of the Ukrainian Press, the Independent media trade union of Ukraine, the Independent media trade union of Kyiv and the Institute of mass information presented results of an expert poll regarding the format of interrelations between the government and media in Ukraine, aw well as the materials of the research concerning elucidation of major political events by leading TV channels of Ukraine.

In the opinion of Valeriy Ivanov, the president of the Academy of the Ukrainian Press, at present one can speak about cooperation of mass media and the government just conditionally. According to him, today mass media do not perform their main function, peculiar to the democratic press – control of the actions of government. In this respect, the position of the so-called “oppositional” mass media, feeding their audience with “poisoned sandwiches”, especially disturbs: on the one hand, they show as if loyal attitude to the government, and on the other hand, journalists demonstrate ambiguous, implicit appraisal of its actions.

Such situation was formed, above all, due to dependence of employees of some mass media on their owners, direct intrusion into editorial policy on the side of representatives of political forces. However, he believes that, on the whole, the standards of journalistic activities have become much better.

The actions of some representatives of the state apparatus are not very consolatory too. In particular, as V. Ivanov reckons, the Secretariat of the President acts against the democratic principle of mass media, which is proved by statements of Mr. Zinchenko and Mr. Lubkivsky regarding the postponement for indefinite period (at least until the parliamentary election) the organization of public broadcast and revival of state mass media. The president of the Academy of the Ukrainian Press pointed out that mass media should oppose such antidemocratic wishes of the government themselves.

Besides, participants of the press conference pointed out that the administrative pressure on mass media occurred, but, as a rule, it was observed on regional level and was not a result of the state policy. Among the problems of mass media, which were inherited from the old regime, he also pointed out the limitations of journalist’s right for access to information and absence of reaction of state officials to information in mass media.  

Evhen Hlibovytsky, the head of the Independent media trade union of Kyiv, informed at the press conference about establishment of “a rating of enemies of the Ukrainian press”. He declared that the Independent media trade union of Kyiv took the decision to initiate this rating since this year.

The methodology, according to which the rating will be formed, will be made public before 16 September 2005, the rating will be made public at the end of every year. It will consist of “the people who caused the most problems to the free press in Ukraine during a calendar year”.

Besides, he said that the Independent media trade union of Kyiv and the Independent media trade union of Ukraine commenced the process of uniting, which, in his opinion, would last for a long time. Evhen Hlibovytsky pointed out that the united trade union would be the first association in Ukraine, which would join the International federation of journalists.

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