Conflict of interest in Lyovochkin’s purchase of major share in TV Inter
Reporters without Borders has expressed its concern that Serhiy Lyovochkin, Head of President Yanukovych’s Administration, has acquired a 20 percent stake in the Inter Media Group. As reported here, Lyovochkin bought the media holding together with Dmytry Firtash, known for his very close links to the present regime, from Valery Khoroshkovsky.
The organization writes that ““Liovochkin’s acquisition of a stake in Inter Media Group means that one of the owners of Ukraine’s most watched TV stations is now one of the most senior figures in the government, and this is clearly a conflict of interest, ”
“Inter TV has made significant efforts in recent months to be editorially more independent and we will be waiting to see whether this continues. We will hold the head of the presidential administration responsible for any drastic change in Inter TV’s editorial policies.”
It notes that while Inter had long been considered a supporter of the current government, its editorial policy had changed after the October parliamentary elections. RWB does not say so, but Khoroshkovsky left the government in protest after Azarov was again appointed Prime Minister.
Inter, which had consistently been in first or second place (vying for worst spot with the State-owned UTV-1) for journalist infringements and muffling of information began giving more airtime to different political parties. It also launched “Spravedlyvist, ” a political talk-show with a direct and outspoken style that is hosted by the journalist Anna Bezulyk.”
Given the track record of the current regime on freedom of speech and UTV-1’s seriously compromised reputation, there would seem strong grounds for concern.