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27.01.2012

Express newspaper protests over attempts to close it

   

The front page of the newspaper Express. The only words on the page say: "We demand fair court proceedings"

The Lviv-based newspaper Express came out on 26 January with a white first page in protest over what it says is pressure and an attempt to close it following a court ruling in conflict between its founders.

The journalists assert that an attack was mounted against the newspaper, using manipulative techniques and court rulings after the editorial board refused to stop criticizing the party in power.

They say that a court ruling cancelled one of the statutory documents of the business which publishes Express and the most popular Ukrainian language newspapers in the country, and that all these newspapers are now in danger of not being published.

Telekritika writes that neither the statement issued, nor the Chief Editor, clarify which particular court ruling, apparently before New Year is referred to.  However, judging from information in the Single State Register of Court Rulings, the conflict in question is an economic one between the founders of the publication.

The Chief Editor, Ihor Pochynok told Telekritika that he is convinced the legal details of this case are purely technical and a means of putting pressure on the newspaper.

Express’s journalists assert that after the court ruling, pressure from the authorities began, with offers twice to immediately resolve all the newspapers’ and their publishers’ problems in return for stopping criticizing those in power.

The statement reads that they did not hesitate for a second and twice refused the offer.

Telekritika points out that the journalists do not specify who exactly made these approaches to the newspaper and what exactly the “close cooperation” mentioned was supposed to consist of. When they asked Mr Pochynok, he said: “We spoke of this openly in our special appeal”.

The publication calls on everybody to write and phone the President’s Administration, the High Council of Justice and the Lviv Economic Court of Appeal and demand a fair examination of the case involving Express.

Express journalists previously blocked the Kyiv – Chop road over action by the tax police investigating alleged non-payment of taxes. It later transpired that Express’ publisher had paid all the taxes. 

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