Ukraine’s Enemies of the Press 2009
On 3 May 2010, to mark World Press Freedom Day, the Institute for Mass Information and the Kyiv Independent Media Trade Union published their annual anti-awards, naming those rated the worst Enemies of the Press in 2009.
Top place (so to speak) is taken by the Prosecutor General, Oleksandr Medvedko with 207 points.
1. On 28.09.2009 the Prosecutor of Kyiv’s Pechersky District refused to initiate a criminal investigation with respect to National Deputy [MP] from the Communist Party Oleksandr Tkachenko.
On 1 September. STB Special Correspondent Olha Chervakova attempted to find out from Mr Tkachenko why he had called the day before for journalists to not be allowed into the parliamentary buffet. He did not answer, just first hit out at the microphone, and then grabbed it and took it upstairs to the third floor where he threw it down and it fell into the basement. All of this was recorded on video.
An initial check had confirmed that Mr Tkachenko had damaged a television channel microphone, yet the Prosecutor deemed there to be no elements of a crime in his actions. (more details here: http://www.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1258119881 and in the links below)
2. Not one prominent crime against journalists was solved
Second place: National Deputy Oleksandr Tkachenko (202 points)
See the above for details of his behaviour on 1 September. He has not apologized to the journalist and has not
Third Place: (then) Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (195 points)
1. On 3 December Ms Tymoshenko did not want three journalists present during a talk show run by Yevgeny Kiselyov. The site “Journalists against deputies” reported that a representative of the Prime Minister had made this demand.
2. On 12 June Volodymyr Pavlyuk lost his job over a clip “Propalo vse” [It’s the end! – Ms Tymoshenko did not realize she was being filmed]. Mr Pavlyuk was asked to resign. The Editor does not deny that the reason was his film clip, but denies any political pressure on the channel.
Fourth Place: Head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Speech Anna Herman (186 points)
1. On 2 December she attempted to have certain prominent journalists, including the Heads of the National Journalist Union, the Independent Media Trade Union and the Kyiv Independent Media Trade Union removed from a list of those taking part in parliamentary hearings on freedom of speech in the regional press. After the information was made public, the journalists were included on the list.
2. On 24 September she was involved in unprecedented intrusion in the Shuster Live programme. She and other Deputies from the Party of the Regions effectively disrupted the programme, and also exerted pressure on the presenter who had been invited to the Party of the Regions headquarters the day before and pressured to change the format of the broadcast in the interests of the Party of the Regions.
On 24 November Herman called for the reinstatement into the Party of the Regions of Oleh Kalashnikov who physically assaulted a male sound operator and female journalist from the TV Channel STB.
Fifth place goes to the Head of the District Council in Zhytomyr, Serhiy Kruty who on 9 November physically assaulted Editor of the newspaper “Rural Life” Valery Ivanovsky. The latter states that this took place when he and colleagues arrived to discuss the Council’s fulfilment of financial commitments to the newspaper.
Sixth place: Judge of the Avtozavosksk District Court in Kremenchuk, Serhiy Nestorenko for throwing a journalist out of a court hearing.
Seventh place: Mayor of Truskavets Lev Hrytsak for refusing to allow journalists from the newspaper “Sources of Truskavets” to meetings in the Mayor’s Office.
Eighth Place: Former Head of the President’s Secretariat Viktor Baloha over a defamation suit
Ninth Place: Former Head of the Lviv Administrative Court of Appeal Ihor Zvarych over a number of defamation suits
Tenth Place: Viktor Yanukovych, then leader of the Party of the Regions
1. It has been proven by both Ukrainska Pravda and STB Channel that Yanukovych demanded that journalists agree questions before press conferences
2. Threats to journalist Serhiy Leshchenko