Media Trade Union initiates public debate over attacks on journalists
The Media Trade Union of Ukraine is disturbed by the escalating in political tension in Ukraine which has led to journalists being used in inter-party struggles, as well as to numerous attacks on representatives of the mass media.
“We will be launching discussion concerning the attacks on journalists by representatives of parliamentary factions”, the head of the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine, Serhiy Huz stated. He was commenting on the words of Volodymyr Demyokhin, Head of the Kherson Regional Council, representing the Party of the Regions, to the effect that certain journalists need to be “taught a lesson”.
Serhiy Huz stresses: “Even if such statements are not a direct threat, when made in public they provoke supporters of those political factions to take a harsh position in relation to journalists. Just in the last month, according to the Trade Unions records, there have been 5 attacks on journalists in which party activists were involved”. The Media Trade Union is calling on all politicians, especially representatives of the Party of the Regions to refrain from making public calls to get even with journalists
“We have already approached the Chair of the Committee on Freedom of Speech, Andriy Shevchenko (from the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko) and Hanna Herman-Stetsiv who represents the Party of the Regions on the Committee asking them to support a public debate on this issue. At present there are many political rallies and demonstrations organized by different political factions taking place. We cannot allow such attacks on journalists to continue. Otherwise we will have the situation where reporters prepare their material not from the scene of an event, but from the editorial office”, the Head of the Media Union adds.
Hanna Herman-Stetsiv during a conversation with representatives of the Media Trade Union stated that party members will investigate information about the statements made by Demyokhin. “If it is true, he faces the same fate as Kalashnikov. This is the Partys position”, she asserted, adding that this should be understood by representatives of the Party throughout the country.
The Media Trade Union will be closely watching for any threats made against journalists and taking appropriate measures.
The Press Service of the Media Trade Union
 It is not quite clear what Ms Herman-Stetsiv means by Kalashnikovs fate. Oleh Kalashnikov was reprimanded by the Party almost a week after he attacked journalists from STB in Kyiv on 12 July. It was stated on 20 July that he had been expelled from the Party, however Radio Svoboda reports today, 21 July, that Kalashnikov remains a State Deputy (translators note)