Psychological pressure on “Vechirny Kyiv” [“Evening Kyiv”] was apparently not enough.
As already reported, there has been conflict over the last two weeks between the editorial staff of the newspaper “Vechirny Kyiv” [“Evening Kyiv”] and the Kyiv City State Administration [KCSA]. It began with a press conference in the UNIAN information agency on 6 November where the newspapers journalists accused the Kyiv City State Administration of pressure and censorship. A week later there was a meeting with the Chair of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information Andriy Shevchenko, Kyiv Mayor Chernovetskys Deputy Denis Bass and heads of the Kyiv Councils Committee on Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Prahnimak and Oleksandr Brihynets.
On Andriy Shevchenkos initiative it was agreed that it all parties would meet on Wednesday, 15 November, to sign “Principles of editorial policy” and “Agreement of mutual understanding”, however Denis Bass did not appear. As reported, the deputy from the Kyiv Council, journalist, secretary of the Committee on Culture and Information Policy and member of the expert council of the BYuT faction, Oleksandr Brihynets, stated that he believed the conflict might escalate and that financial pressure might be exerted on the newspaper.
On Friday, 17 November, Oleksandr Brihynets stated that such pressure had already begun.
“On 16 November, as always on that day, the staff were due to receive an advance sum. However this did not materialize, nor is it expected to on Friday. There is still money in the budget, moreover, as far as Im aware, this has been allocated for the editorial office, and the delay in payment for journalists work is purely in order to exert pressure on the staff. This is pressure, but absurd and inept. The KSCA cannot refuse to settle accounts with the editorial staff therefore the latter have the law on their side. On the other hand, however, such pressure confirms that the Mayors office is determined however they can to annoy the newspaper. At this time the staff are more than ever in need of support from their colleagues. I therefore call on journalists to show solidarity so that this assault on freedom of speech in Kyiv does not become a national epidemic”.
We will continue to follow the conflict and certainly support all journalists who speak out against encroachments of freedom of speech.