21.05.2000 | Oksana Priadko, Cherkassy

Too much freedom of speech


On 11 August a faked newspaper was distributed in Cherkassy. Two hours before the reception of a subsequent number of the Cherkassy weekly . Antenna. some unknown pushers distributed free of charge an alleged fresh number of . Antenna. .

On the second page of this newspaper there was a rubric . Repentance. , which contained the address of the publisher of . Antenna. Valeriy Vorotnik to the readers. Under the heading . I repent and I accuse. the following was printed: . Today I, Valeriy Vorotnik, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper . Antenna. , beg the readers to excuse me because in my newspaper I printed so little truth. I did it for small donations, I had to do the most filthy and ungrateful work, incompatible with journalist. s ethics. I had to deliberately publish unchecked information, to distort facts, to slander respected people and to justify scoundrels. I took money from everybody. .

Further the editor-in-chief confessed that the newspaper . was bought by Cherkassy mayor and now a candidate to Presidency Vladimir Oleynik. . This confession was strengthened by the publication of several articles (signed by journalists of the actual . Antenna. ) criticizing and unmasking the Cherkassy mayor.

It should be noted that the real . Antenna. is rather loyal to the mayor and criticizes the activities of the region authorities as a whole, as well as President Kuchma and his team.

In other features the faked . Antenna. rather resembled the real one. On Friday, 13 August, the publisher of the real . Antenna. Valeriy Vorotnik gathered the press conference on the mayor. s office. He said that the editorial board has absolutely no relation to the faked newspaper. He added that the fake compromised the newspaper before its readers, compromised Vladimir Oleynik as a politician was aimed at quarreling the newspaper with the mayor.

Next day Mr. Vorotnik turned to the oblast prosecutor. s office with a request to start a criminal case according to Article 143 Part 3 of the Penal Code (fraud). Since Mr. Vorotnik did not believe in the objectivity of the investigation, he started the journalist investigation by newspapermen from . Antenna. . The first results of this investigation are as follows. The faked . Antenna. was, most probably, printed by the editorial board of . Fakty. , another Cherkassy newspaper. The articles, which tried to compromise the Cherkassy mayor, were reprinted from . Fakty. . Another argument is oblique: a year ago by the order of . Fakty. a faked special issue of Cherkassy newspaper . Misto. was published. The editor-in-chief of . Fakty. Mr. Suprunov personally visited the . Antenna. publisher, expressed his pity and declared that he had nothing in common with the faked newspaper.

The collective of . Antenna. appealed to its readers and informed them that the faked . Antenna. was not published by them, since it differed from the real publication by bad polygraphy, a smaller size (8 pages instead of 16) and the opposite contents. The collective of the newspaper considers the fact of publishing a faked issue as discrediting, compromising the newspaper and well-known Ukrainian politicians. So, for example, the newspaper supports Evgeniy Marchuk, but the faked newspaper contained materials discrediting this politician. When the faked newspaper was distributed it was given together with a calendar decorated with Kuchma. s portrait.

The editorial board of . Antenna. works also at another version, suspecting another Cherkassy newspaper with a small run.

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