Journalists boycott MP Chechetov for openly lying to the press
Parliamentary journalists have declared a boycott of Deputy from the Party of the Regions, Mykhailo Chechetov. According to the Internet publication Ukrainska Pravda, the journalists from the main television channels and information agencies passed a decision to not take comments from Chechetov because they allege that in commenting on the brawl in the Verkhovna Rada last night, he openly lied to the press.
He claimed, for example, that there was no fight in the Verkhovna Rada, and that “BYuT deputies hit themselves on the head, while the Party of the Regions “tolerantly ensured the work of the Verkhovna Rada”.
The journalists said: “When Yefremov (Head of the Party of the Regions faction in parliament – translator] lied yesterday, he at least went red in the face. You are lying and not blushing. You are openly lying to us. We don’t want to hear your lies anymore. Any journalist who writes or presents you, will be considered as having no civic position”.
Olha Snitsarchuk from Channel 5 told Telekritika that Channel 5, 1+1, STB and Novy were definitely supporting the boycott, while journalists from Inter and ICTV had, according to preliminary information, also said yes. Oksana Denysova from Ukrainska Pravda says that among information agencies the decision had been supported by Ukrainska Pravda, UNIAN, Ukrainian News and Liga.
Financial Times Report on the brawl
Ukraine MPs come to blows in parliament
By Roman Olearchyk in Kiev
A fight broke out in Ukraine’s parliament on Thursday night between lawmakers from President Viktor Yanukovich’s party and opposition MPs from the party of his rival, Yulia Tymoshenko.
Four opposition MPs were taken to hospital after being injured in the fistfight.
While skirmishes are common in Ukraine’s messy politics, Thursday night’s incident appeared to be particularly violent and marks an escalation in the showdown between the political camps of Mr Yanukovich and Ms Tymoshenko.
The fight came a day after Ukrainian prosecutors announced that they had launched criminal charges against Ms Tymoshenko, a former prime minister and leader of the 2004 Orange Revolution.
It reportedly erupted after MPs supporting Mr Yanukovich rushed into parliament to break up a protest over the criminal charges against Ms Tymoshenko.
Ms Tymoshenko’s allies claim they were violently attacked. One lawmaker in Ms Tymoshenko’s camp was reported to have suffered a broken hand after pro-Yanukovich MPs beat him with a chair. Another Tymoshenko ally was said to have been bleeding profusely from the head and jaw after being beaten.
It is unlikely that any MPs will face charges because they are protected by parliamentary immunity.
The charges against Ms Tymoshenko involve alleged misuse of funds raised by her government in 2009 under the Kyoto protocol. On Tuesday, Ms Tymoshenko described the case against her – as well as charges against a handful of allies that have been arrested in recent months on related and separate charges – as politically motivated.
On Wednesday, leaders of the European Union’s largest cross-border party, the European People’s party, expressed concern at the deterioration of democracy in Ukraine under Mr Yanukovich.
Speaking at the party’s summit in Brussels on Thursday, EPP president Wilfried Martens said: “The EPP’s presidency condemns the growth of aggressive, politically motivated pressure by the Ukrainian authorities on the opposition and its leader Yulia Tymoshenko.”
Since narrowly beating Ms Tymoshenko in a presidential election in February, Mr Yanukovich has been accused by the opposition of monopolising power, persecuting his foes and of reneging on democratic and media freedom gains made since the Orange Revolution. Opponents also accuse the Moscow-friendly president of bringing Ukraine back into Russia’s fold.
Mr Yanukovich has repeatedly denied such allegations. His administration describes the investigations into Ms Tymoshenko and her associates as legitimate attempts to combat corruption.
Mr Yanukovich also says he is working hard to revive relations with Russia while keeping Kiev on a path towards EU membership and reforming Ukraine’s fragile economy.