12.10.2005 | Vladimir Berezin, Artemovsk

How Yushchenko’s words were interpreted in Artemovsk


After the conflict of the President with a journalist many mass media predicted that this would be a bad example for the authorities. And it happened just so.

The authorities of Artemovsk interpreted this situation as a command “attack”. Lidiya Shepeleva, a journalist with the 15-year experience, the editor and presenter of local radio programs, became the first victim. The town administration disliked the journalist since the election, when she dared to give the floor (without consent of ‘the authorities) to representatives of all political forces of Artemovsk, to activists and to all people indignant at the actions of Yanukovich’s team.

The “watchdogs” of the Artemovsk mayor waited for the moment for a long time, and on 2 August they broke loose. When Lidiya Shepeleva came to her workplace, she was surprised both by the number of people waiting for her near the door of the office, where the programs were made, and the serious equipment of this group.

The group included two district policemen, the manager of communal TV and radio company and a team of cameramen. First of all they demanded from Shepeleva to give them the keys of the office. She refused. Then the manager tried to take the keys away by force. The policemen silently observed this obvious hooliganism. The end was trivial: Shepeleva bit one of the attackers and ran away. Naturally, the conflict is not exhausted yet. The authorities will do their best to realize their threats concerning the removal of the disobedient journalist from her work. Yet, would this be a benefit for the Artemovsk dwellers, the people, whose taxes feed both the authorities and the administration of the TV and radio company? No benefit, only damage. We will not listen every morning to the voice of Lidiya Shepeleva, who, with her selfless enthusiasm, managed to preserve the wire radio in Artemovsk, who during 15 years served faithfully to common people.

However, is there new power in the region and in Kyiv? Who will punish the Artemovsk mayor for persecution of journalists (the story with Shepeleva is not the only example)? Who will ask the police head, on which grounds he sent the policemen for participation in the “storm of the office”?

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