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09.01.2008

Lviv Mayor becomes anti-hero in a documentary film

   

Ihor Chaika, who has already produced several documentary films on press freedom, has turned his attention to Andriy Sadovy, Mayor of Lviv. 

All of the films have effectively investigated the state of Ukrainian journalism in the “new democracy”.  Chaika and his team, together with colleagues from other parts of the country, are endeavouring to establish the extent of the divide between the fine statements made by those in power, as well as sometimes by the media outlet owners themselves, about “freedom of speech”, “media independence”, “free journalism”, etc and reality.

They have understood that there are plenty of other forms of “influence” less primitive than the “temnyky” – semi-official instructions issued under the Kuchma regime to media outlets on what to cover and how.  Over recent times the “carrot and stick” approach has become widespread, with financial levers being applied.  The “stick” aspect here is seen in the fact that if a journalist or outlet can’t be “bought”, they can be bankrupted (for example, via the court), or the media outlet can stop being financed.

Ihor Chaika’s new film speaks of the Lviv experience in affirming “freedom of speech” through the example of the fight between Lviv’s Mayor Andriy Sadovy (also a media owner) with the Lviv City Council’s newspaper “Ratusz” and its “recalcitrant” editor Mykola Savelyev.

“I know very well that after people view the film, there will be lots of accusations that the film has been made to order, and that it is supposedly directed against the well-known democrat Mr Andriy Sadovy.”, Ihor Chaika explains.  “However if in this case there can be any talk of  being “to order”, this is only from the point of view of defending all journalists against the arbitrary rule of those in power. In that sense I would agree, but only as the positioning of our story as commissioned by our profession. It’s after all no accident that the first acknowledgements at the beginning of the film are to the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine which is presenting our new work.”

Based on a report at www.zik.com.ua

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