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20.02.2007

New form of censorship in Kharkiv

   

The Kharkiv City Council has revoked the accreditation for journalist from “Komersant – Ukraina” Maria Spalek. The reason given is that the journalist “has been persistently misinforming people in Ukraine about the reform of housing and communal services in Kharkiv”.

The notification from the press service of the City Council is published on their official site and goes on to say: “Several times in material on this subject there has been unverified information and a slanted approach. All such material was written by the Kharkiv correspondent for the newspaper Maria Spalek and her Kyiv colleague Oleh Havrysh, who together disseminated untruthful information”.

The press service cites one article from 19 February as example, and demands that the information is refuted and a public apology given.

For her part Maria Spalek said in an interview to Interfax – Ukraine that she had not set out to discredit the Kharkiv city authorities.

“The style of our publication is to present facts. In the article in question there is information about a source who for obvious reasons is not named. In a telephone conversation Oleh Havrysh and the newspaper management confirmed that they have a taped recording of the commentaries which we are ready to provide to the court.”

She was also at a loss as to why she was facing loss of accreditation. “What that means I don’t know. I guess they can refuse to let me into the Council building. I haven’t thought about whether I’ll go there. And in any case I have a lot of work at the moment and this all takes time”.

Spalek’s article which has led to her loss of accreditation says that on Friday the government committee on the fuel and energy industry spoke out against the new system of paying for electricity, gas and heating which the Kharkiv authorities have developed.

The article asserts that the Kharkiv prosecutor’s office has said that it plans to oppose the new system in court since it virtually deprives the National Commission on Regulating Electricity and the government of control over tariffs for energy.

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