Kyiv schools ordered to snoop on journalists’ children
Officials from the Kyiv Department of Education have verbally approached school heads with “a request” to pass on information about children whose parents are working in the media. The newspaper Dzerkalo Tyzhnya cites sources from both the Department and schools who for obvious reasons insisted on anonymity.
They report that the work has been carried out in haste since Thursday, with schools told that it is “important and urgent” that they provide the names of the child, the journalist parent and the latter’s place of work.
The authorities’ “request” was passed on to district education department employees by the press secretary of the Kyiv Department of Education, Maria Kravchuk.
Dzerkalo Tyzhnya asked the Department for its comments. The Head of the Department, they were told, was on a business trip, her deputy was also busy, and Maria Kravchuk denied that the schools had received such a task.
She claims that they merely approached the district departments with a request to provide a list of schools who could receive media representatives “in order to cover various events. After all there are heads who feel uncomfortable with video cameras and journalists”, she said.
The school heads whom the newspaper spoke with find this unconvincing. One of these heads explained that each district has schools to which the media are usually invited, and others which they try not to show journalists. Since the Department knows perfectly well which schools are which, there would be no sense in gathering such information.
The newspaper says that it was able to receive confirmation of the reports about lists of journalists’ children in two districts – Holosiyvsky and Obolon. The school heads they spoke with confirmed that they had given such information, and that it had all been asked for verbally, without written instructions.
Dzerkalo Tyzhnya writes that there is for the moment no answer as to who needed such lists and for what purpose. It notes that in August 2012 Oksana Dobrovolska, now a member of the Party of the Regions, became the new Head of the City Department of Education from