17.01.2006 | Vladimir Berezin, Artemovsk

Artemovsk mayor stamping down on the independent mass media


During last 10 years two kinds of television, communal and private, exist in Artemovsk. And now mayor Aleksey Reva has practically given the command to destroy the private cable TV company “Zakaz”. Well, why the mayor has flown into a rage? Maybe because the private TV company headed by Igor Sevastyanov began, since December 2004, to retranslate the channel “5 kanal”?

Aleksey Reva sincerely stated his intention in his article published on 22 December 2004 in the newspaper “Vpered” issued by the town council. In particular, he has accused Sevastyanov of betrayal of interests of the Party of Regions, the members of which they both are.

Yet, is it possible for a businessman to be a member of some other party or even to express some preferences in the Donetsk region, especially in Artemovsk? In Artemovsk, for example, almost every fourth adult has been a member of the Party of Regions (even more than in the CPSU), since the majority of workers of tax inspection and the greatest enterprises of the town (such as the local winery, plant for processing of non-ferrous metals, “Vistek”, etc.) were coercively driven into this party. The mayor’s order to attack “Zakaz” was fulfilled immediately by the local organization of the PR. The so-called “protest meeting against “Zakaz”” was conducted under the direction of deputy of the town council from the PR Severinov, a deputy manager of the plant for processing of non-ferrous metals, and member of the executive committee Andreev, the owner of a network of cafes and shops. At this meeting several tens of workers of the plant demanded to close the TV company “Zakaz”. Allegedly, the people did not want to watch “5 kanal”, but demanded to return two Russian channels, which Sevastyanov had stopped to broadcast because of absence of corresponding license. The executors of mayor’s will did not restrict themselves with the meetings and the indignant articles from “common people” published in the “tame”
 press. In spite of the President’s Edict on prohibition of persecution of mass media, the private company is checked by all organs – from tax police to the society for protection of consumer’s rights. And these checks accompanied by threats and instructions seem to be endless.

Everything is clear with the Party of Regions. Yet, why the local organizations of other parties, such as “Our Ukraine” and “Batkivshchina”, keep silence? Maybe they also support the closure of “Zakaz” and “5 kanal” (broadcasting of “Zakaz” is based on “5 channel”, the most “orange” one, by the way, so the Artemovsk dwellers, who want to watch the local news, prefer this channel)?

How a representative of the local power may openly destroy the freedom of speech and human rights in his town?
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