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12.12.2011

Conflict in Segodnya newspaper: journalists allege censorship

   

Journalists from the newspaper Segodnya [Today] which belongs to billionaire Party of the Regions MP Rinat Akhmetov have issued a statement warning that they are ready to go on strike.

They accuse the new Director Olena Hromnytska of trying to censor the content on the Internet site and the printed version of the paper and to publish commissioned articles.

 “It has become usual practice to remove, on Hromnytska’s direct instructions, material from our site regarding various figures, for example, the Mayor of Odessa Oleksy Kostusev, the President’s Adviser Hanna Herman. There has been pressure on the Chief Editor of Segodnay to avoid the appearance of “inconvenient” publications regarding specific politicians and businessmen. At the same time articles have begun to appear as editorial material which were previously published as advertising material (the latest example was businessman Dmitry Firtash’s speech to the Congress of Employers)”.

On Sunday 11 December the Independent Media Union of Ukraine issued a statement in which it expressed support for the journalists of Segodnya in their wish to counter censorship.  It said that wishing to ensure that the staff did not suffer from the present conflict and that the newspaper was not closed as has happened with other publications, it will provide Union members on the newspaper “the necessary legal and political assistance”.

The Head of the Union, Yury Lukanov said that the conflict was not merely a business one, but of public importance since it concerned the issue of censorship.  It should therefore be discussed publicly and examined by the relevant State institutions responsible for creating the conditions for the development of freedom of speech.

Information at the Institute for Mass Information and a press release from the Union

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