Slovyansk opposition newspaper alleges pressure from Mayor and police


Staff members of the opposition newspaper “Panorama Tyzhnya” [“Weekly Panorama”] in Slovyansk (the Donetsk region) have complained of pressure from the Mayor of Slovyansk Nelya Shteli and the local police.

The statement they have released says that from when the paper was founded in 2005, they have clearly set out their position, covering events objectively and without bias.

“The Mayor has on a number of occasions verbally expressed her dissatisfaction and intention to destroy the newspaper”.

Since Viktor Yanukovych became President in 2010 they have been critical of the government-initiated reforms and see them as having destructive consequences.

The statement gives more detail of their criticism, then asserts that in February 2012 the Mayor used administrative resource to begin a PR election campaign for Party of the Regions Deputy Volodymyr Vecherko.

On 26 April the newspaper published an article about Vecherko, in which it also focused on his father-in-law, Yukhim Zvyahilsky and scandals associated with the latter.

On 24 May the founder of the newspaper, Viktor Malyuha was visited by officers from the Sector of the State Service for Fighting Economic Crime. They handed him a letter from the head of police, which asked, on the basis of an instruction from the Prosecutor’s Office, to know the legal and actual address of the newspaper Panorama Tyzhnya, details about its founder, and about the editor, journalists and other staff of the newspaper, including their residential addresses. The information it said was needed in connection with a letter from National Deputy [MP] Yukhim Zvyahilsky,

The statement from the newspaper’s staff says that they regard this as clear pressure on a newspaper which dared to tell the truth.  They ask all colleagues and citizens who support objectivity and freedom of speech, thought and convictions, to pay attention to the situation in their city, and to give maximum coverage to the story. 

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