President’s Press Secretary agreed press questions in advance
Darya Chepak, Yanukovych’s Press Secretary, has acknowledged that the topics of journalists’ questions to be put to the President at his press conference were agreed in advance.
Looking very uncomfortable when pressed for an answer by journalists after the press conference, she said “We discussed the themes which journalists would like to discuss. It wasn’t now, it was a month back”.
She claimed that “all press services in the world do this”.
There was an incident between journalists and Chepak during the press conference. Since Leonid Kuchma’s time, journalists have themselves near the microphone made up a list of questions in their order. This time also representatives of the Kyiv press made up their list. Before the press conference began Chepak took this list. When the time came for the media representatives to ask questions, she gave people the floor, not on the basis of the list, but as she saw fit.
For example, when it should have been the turn of Natalya Sokolenko from TV Channel STB, Chepak gave the floor to the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda in Ukraine which is part of the President’s press pool.
As a result Natalya Sokolenko began asking her question without a microphone. The question concerned infringements of journalists’ rights.