Journalists threat walk-out over refusal to name guard
Journalists have threatened to leave the Inter-departmental Working Group if the guard who obstructed and used force against peaceful protesters at the World Newspaper Congress in Kyiv on 3 September is not identified. As reported, at the beginning of President Yanukovych’s address at the opening of the WAN-IFRA Congress, around 15 journalists held up signs protesting against censorship and encroachments on freedom of speech. Video footage clearly shows the guard wrenching the placards away from Kyiv Post’s Katya Gorchynska and Ukrainska Pravda’s Olena Prytula.
At the meeting of the Inter-Departmental Working Group the head of Telekritika, Natalya Ligachova stated that the journalists in the group would leave if their demand was not met. Daria Chepak, President Yanukovych’s Press Secretary and the head of the Working Group made a lot of the fact that this was the tenth meeting of the Group which had been set up to establish a platform for discussion between the authorities and journalists. It was easy to destroy, she asserted, hard to build.
At the meeting, a spokesperson for UDO – the State department responsible for the President’s security said that a private security company – Volf – had taken part in security measures. He claimed that he did not know whether it was a guard from that firm who had taken the placards away from the journalists.