Media Barometer for October 2008
The Institute for Mass Information reports a new and dangerous trend in relations between media owners and employees during October. This involved widespread job losses, delays in paying employees and pay reductions as a result of the financial crisis.
They also report that there were at least 2 cases where journalists were obstructed in carrying out their work, and at least one attack on a journalist.
2 October – on Pervomaiska St in Kyiv, journalists were injured in a scuffle during a protest against the seizure of the Sound Recording Building. The security guards who had seized the building threw stones and boards at protesters trying to break down the fence. Ihor Lutsenko, Chief Editor of the website “Financier” and member of the Initiative “Preserve old Kyiv” was beaten by three guards and his video recorder with which hed been filming what was happening was taken away. Lutsenko and the police are presently trying to get the video recorder back. Volodymyr Hontar, a photographer for the press agency UNIAN and Oleksandr Techynsky from the newspaper “Kommersant” were also injured. Mr Techynsky says that the police who were present during the incident did nothing to stop the journalists being beaten.
13 October - the vast majority of journalists, including employees of information agencies, were not allowed into the courtroom where the Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal was beginning its examination of the appeal from the Presidents Secretariat against the ruling of the District Administrative Court which suspended the force of the Presidents Decree dissolving parliament (from 8 October). The Ministry of Internal Affairs officers of the unit for guarding courts referred to a decision from the court curator.
15 October – in Poltava police officers detained the Editor of the local newspaper “Private Matter” Anatoly Banny, who had attempted to photograph the detention by patrol police of one of the activists of a youth organization “Tryzub” [“Trident”]. Mr Banny says that the police knocked him to the ground and tried to grab his camera, put handcuffs on him and took him to the patrol car. The journalist spent two hours in the police station where they tested him for alcohol. He was released after a doctor confirmed that he was sober.
15 October – the Party of the Regions stated that they were refusing to give any commentaries to journalist Olha Vasylevska from the newspaper “Dyelo” [“Business”]. They claimed that in an article, the journalist had distorted the words of two National Deputies Hanna Herman and Oleksandr Lavrynovych. Ms Vasylevska says that she is bemused by this and does not consider that she did anything wrong.
IMI reports 6 cases involving staff reductions and delays in paying staff, as well as the disappearance from air of the radio station “Rocks” (Kyiv 103,6 FM) which was apparently disconnected over non-payment.
One law suit against the media is reported.
On 2 October the Mayor of Ladyzhyn Valery Kolomyeitsev lodged another suit against the “Ladyzhyn Newspaper” and journalist Ludmila Holovashyn alleging that they had published incorrect information. The Mayor on this occasion took offence at the article “The authorities against the electricity station - the battle is being waged for glory” where the author writes about the relations between the head of the electricity station and the local authorities. The article was published in the issue from 15-21 May. The Mayor is demanding a retraction but has not provided a text with the relevant correction. The case has been accepted for examination.
Slightly abridged from the report at www.imi.org.ua