The authorities of the Zakarpatska region try to take over the control of the only all-Ukrainian Hungarian-language newspaper “Karpati igaz so”
The only all-Ukrainian Hungarian-language newspaper “Karpati igaz so”, which has celebrated its 85th anniversary this year, has now more than 10000 subscribers, more than other newspapers in the region. However, after the revolutionary events in Ukraine and in the Zakarpatska region, new authorities, in particular new head of the regional state administration Viktor Baloga, decided to take over the control of the independent Hungarian-language press, which dared to elucidate the events in the light negative for state officials. So, since February 2005 Oleg Gavashi, the first deputy of the head of the regional state administration, more than once “asked” editor-in-chief of the newspaper Elemir Kevsegi to dismiss on his own wish. Yet, when the newspaper collective expressed the unanimous support to its editor-in-chief, the regional authorities began the open attack. In order to settle this conflict, workers of the newspaper repeatedly turned with the open letters to governor Viktor Baloga, but, unfortunately, contrary to the Law of Ukraine “On citizens appeals”, he did not react to these letters.
Meanwhile, on 22 April 2005 the regional authorities, using their rights of “founders”, dismissed Elemir Kevsegi (head of the Union of Hungarian journalists of the Zakarpatska region) from the post of editor-in-chief of the newspaper, while he was on an official leave. After this head of the regional administration Oleg Gavashi officially assured the workers of the newspaper that the opinion of the collective would be taken into account at appointment of new editor-in-chief. Yet, in spite of the repeated official and public declarations about such intention, on 29 July 2005 new editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Karpati igaz so” Gabor Erdei was appointed without any agreement with the collective. In 1994-2003 Mr. Erdei industriously served to Kuchmas regime as the editor-in-chief and is not acknowledged by the collective (30 persons). In the connection with the situation around the editor-in-chief, the work of the newspaper is blocked now, and the regional administration, together with deputy of the regional council Brenzovich, prohibits publication of the newspaper already for two weeks.
Unfortunately, on the regional level our capabilities are already exhausted, since the newspaper stays not only in the functional blockade, but also in informational isolation. So, during the visit of vice-Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Tomenko to the Zakarpatska region, after the press conference (where the press service of the regional state administration even did not invite our newspaper and did not give to our correspondents the opportunity to put their questions), we managed to describe briefly the essence of the conflict to Mr. Tomenko, who, by the way, did not react.
The collective considers this incident as a doubtless provocation of ethnic-national character, which can essentially influence the interethnic relations and stability in the region. That is why we are turning to the Ukrainian journalistic community with the appeal to help us in protection of our professional rights.
Collective of the editorial board of the Hungarian-language newspaper “Karpati igaz so”
9 August 2005