Stop Censorship condemns interference by politicians and top management in TV news
The civic movement Stop Censorship on Monday issued a statement in which it stressed that any interference in the work of independent media outlets was unacceptable, including telephone calls to media management making demands about ways of covering political events.
It mentioned specifically that politicians had no right to encourage the management of TV STB to remove a news item by Hanna Suryadnova and Tymofiy Koshchiya on 25 February. If they had any suspicion of breach of standards and professional ethics, they needed to turn to the Commission on Ethics and Morality and the branch of the Media Front trade union on that channel. Stop Censorship also calls on the STB management in cases of pressure to retain their independence.
As reported here, on 25 February an STB news item about President Yanukovych’s “Talk with the country” was withdrawn.
There is controversy as to why it was withdrawn. The Head of STB’s Information Service, Oleksiy Mustafin says that he ordered it withdrawn and not as the result of any pressure, while National Deputy from the Party of the Regions, Olena Bondarenko acknowledges that she rang Volodymyr Borodyansky, General Director of the channel and it was reported in the press that she accused his journalists of flagrant twisting of the events.
The previous day the Party of the Regions Press Service published a statement accusing one of the national television channels which it effectively names, writing “S..B”, of setting up events and circulating false information.
It claimed that during the television project “Conversation with the President” one of the film crews had attempted to create a “well-planned false item about people’s attitude to the Party of the Regions, the President and the political reform carried out by him”.