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25.10.2007

Spreading the word

   

A long-standing conflict between employees of a municipal newspaper “Ratusz” and the Lviv City Council, or more specifically, its Mayor, took a new turn today.  The Chief Editor Mykola Savelyev and two journalists began a hunger strike in the reception office of Mayor Andriy Sadovy.  They are protesting at the lack of financing for the newspaper and failure to pay salaries over the past four months.

Mr Savelyev says that if the situation is not resolved soon, journalists from other Lviv publications will join them.

The conflict has been continuing for a year and a half.  The editorial office recently began publishing articles about Andriy Sadovy in foreign languages in order to draw public attention to what they allege to be the violation of their labour rights.

In its 4 October issue, the newspaper published an article about the Mayor in Japanese. The Chief Editor said in an interview at the time .that they would soon be publishing articles in Chinese, Korean, Georgian, Swahili, and in languages of dwindling tribes in Africa, so that wider strata of society learn about the actions of the Mayor.

The translated material was a quote from a deputy of the Lviv City Council Volodymyr Hirnyak. The latter states that the Mayor has got lost in Lviv’s complex mechanism and that he needs to enlist the aid of specialists because he won’t get far on mere populism.

Mykola Savelyev believes that this is an effective way of pointing to the situation where there is no funding and where people have not been paid for four months.

Over the year and a half since the present Mayor took office, there have been around 5 attempts to dismiss the newspaper’s Chief Editor, as well as other attempts at effectively closing down the newspaper by privatizing it without any normative documents, as well as a ban on printing one issue. The newspaper has nonetheless continued to come out.

Based on information from the Independent Media Trade Union  at www.profspilka.org.ua

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