IMI: Infringements of freedom of speech 19-26 July 2010
Internal Editorial Pressure
23 July Dismissal of correspondent to the newspaper “Segodnya” [“Today”], Oleksandr Chaplenko. Mr Chaplenko asserts that the main reason was that in the programme “Big Politics”, he publicly stated that the owner of the newspaper is Renat Akhmetov (the millionaire and National Deputy).
See the statement by “Stop Censorship”.
Law suits against the media
On 23 July a defamation suit was brought by National Deputy Oleh Cherpitsky against “Gazeta po-ukrainski” [“Newspaper in Ukrainian”] over a publication by the Zhytomyr journalist Olena Halahuzy. The article is about a fight between the Deputy and a journalist. Cherpitsky is demanding 170 thousand UAH compensation, or for the publication to be stripped of its registration.
The first hearing is due on 6 August 2010.
The international organization Reporters without Borders has officially accepted for consideration an appeal from the Zhytomyr Committee of Defence of Ukraine alleging persecution of the Zhytomyr journalist. Olena Halahuzy.
Economic, political and indirect pressure
23 July Law enforcement bodies removed the server of the Internet provider which serves the website of the newspaper “Free Odessa”. This was reported by the press service of the Odessa civic organization “Brotherhood”.
According to “Brotherhood”, the removal took place without lawful grounds on the instruction of the management of the Central Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Odessa Region. They link the action to frequent publications on their site of examples of corruption and exceeding their powers by high-ranking MIA officials. “Telekritika” reports that the MIA Department would not official confirm the removal of the server.
A source within the MIA said that the removal could be linked with a number of court cases between the newspaper and Odessa officials. He said that the site also contain tapes of telephone conversations between high-ranking officials or politicians, which had clearly been made without the knowledge of those taking part, and this could lead to criminal charges.
The source also said that several days ago the site had published a conversation between the former Prosecutor of the Odessa Region Vasyl Prysyazhnyuk and Igor Markov, the leader of the opposition party “Rodina” [“Motherland”]
The newspaper, site and civic organization called “Free Odessa” arose in the height of conflict between the Odessa Mayor’s Office and the radical opposition. The publication defended the interests of the city administration. Most of the authors write under pseudonyms.
23 July The MIA confirmed that Mykola Knyzhytsky, Director of the TV channel TVi, had been followed by a car with a false number plate.
In response to a Deputy request for information, the Prosecutor General’s Office stated that they were continuing their check into this surveillance.
[cf. http://www.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1278113752 and many of the links below for information about the TV channel and its allegations of pressure and censorship by the new regime, especially the Head of the Security Service who is also a major media magnate]
From the report at: http://imi.org.ua/content/view/179291/1/