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07.06.2012

Journalists name “Enemies of the Press – 2011”

   

Ukraine’s National Union of Journalists has for the fifth year running marked Journalist Day by publishing their list of public officials whose actions most obstructed journalists in their work in 2011.

It points out that the violations are typical and systemic and therefore require both amendments to legislation and considerable efforts from the authorities.

Enemies of the Press

1.  The heads of the factions within the ruling majority  - Oleksandr Yefremov, Party of the Regions; Petro Symonenko, Communist Party; Ihor Sharov,   People’s Party; and Ihor Rybakov, “Reform for the future”. These demanded that journalists not be admitted to the balconies of parliament on days when the Verkhovna Rada was blocked.

On 26 April 2012 journalists were prevented from collecting information about events in parliament. They have issued a complaint with parliamentary committees and talk of a “precedent for obstruction of journalists in their work which had not been seen previously in all the years of Ukraine’s parliamentary system”.

2.  Petro Andreyev, Head of the State Financial Inspection who has ignored the instruction from the Prime Minister on 28 July 2010 to annually, by 15 January, make public and inform the National Union of Journalists of the schedule for planned checks of media editorial offices and has not done so.

The State Financial Inspection has instead been making amendments retrospectively to its planned checks and turning state financial control into an instrument of repression against editors in cases of conflict between the authorities and the media publication.

3.   Serhiy Tulub, Head of the Cherkasy Regional State Administration who has introduced a strict and non-transparent policy for management of municipal and State-owned media publications. In 2011 the Chief Editors of the two main municipal newspapers were dismissed and in the 2012 the General Director of the Regional TV and Radio Broadcasting Company. In 2010 the Union noted the unlawful dismissal of the previous General Director, Mykhailo Kalinichenko.

Tulub, they say, has also failed to react appropriately to cases where journalists are obstructed, and the selection process of heads of State-owned and municipal media publications Is not transparent.

4.   Yaroslav Moskalenko, First Deputy Head of the Kyiv Regional State Administration has consistently infringed journalists’ rights.  The Union first pointed to infringements by Moskalenko who then held a lower position in 2010 over his unwillingness to accept the editorial independence of the district newspaper “Slovo”.

He is now seeking to make the media servile to those in power by dismissing an employee of the Vyshhorod District Newspaper for not sharing the position of the District Council.  He was also implicated in infringements of legislation regarding the newspaper Kyivska Pravda

5.   Pavlo Veklich, Head of the Vinnytsa District State Administration who in violation of the law is trying to get the editorial board of the regional newspaper Podilska Zorya evicted.

6.    Oleksy Yeremytsa, Head of the Department on Property Relations in the Odessa Regional Council and Odessa City Council deputy from the Party of the Regions has initated a number of court cases to get various publications evicted.

7    Natalia Bessarab, judge of the Zamostyansk District Court in Vinnytsa ordered the freezing of the accounts held by the owner of the newspapers 20 Minutes and RIA, and an injunction on the newspapers publishing any information about Vinnytsa businessman Nazarov.

8    Stanislav Lysenko, Prosecutor of the Kirovsk District in Dnipropetrovsk for putting pressure on the Chief Editor of the Dnipropetrovsk newspaper “Litsa” Olena Harahuts over publications on corruption and raider seizures to reveal sources, material, etc

The Union of Journalists stresses that the lack of proper response from the authorities to these facts exacerbates the situation with freedom of speech and is an indicator of the real and not declared intentions regarding protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

They point out that the list, as last year, is being sent to the International Federation of Journalists, the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and other bodies.

They call on the media and civic organizations to help circulated information about all cases where journalists have been obstructed, members of the public have not received information to which they are entitled, etc.

Abridged from the report at Telekritika

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