The Council of Europe inspects Ukraine
Tunne Kelam (Estonia) and Hanne Severinsen (Denmark), members of the monitoring committee of the PACE, have prepared a report on the results of their inspection visit to Ukraine. The report is focused on the pre-election campaign in Ukrainian mass media. The authors of the report point out that the campaign is carried in the unfair way with a great bias to the operating President Leonid Kuchma. The report notes that . frequently independent mass media daring to criticize President Kuchma become the object of pressure on the side of various state bodies (tax inspection, sanitary and epidemiological inspection, fire brigades, etc.), which results in blocking bank accounts and stoppage of printing. .
The inspection was caused by the appeal of the . Kanev foursome. to the PACE.
Practically all state mass media actively support the pre-election campaign of Leonid Kuchma. Last week Aleksandr Tkachenko, the speaker of the Supreme Rada, won a court suit from Vadim Dolganov, the chairman of the state TV company. The cause of the conflict was that Mr. Dolganov refused to transmit Tkachenko. s appeal devoted to the Independence Day of Ukraine. Only Leonid Kuchma was given this opportunity. Vadim Dolganov, for his devotion, was given a state award and appointed the President. s adviser. Now all the capacity of state TV channels are used for the active promotion of Leonid Kuchma.
The former speaker of the Supreme Rada, the leader of the socialist party, MP Aleksandr Moroz, who also is a candidate to the Presidency, became an object of especially sharp criticism. In order to get the access to the first channel of the national television Mr. Moroz initiated the adoption of the special decision of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine. Yet, Vadim Dolganov refused to fulfil this decision.
On 14 October President Kuchma made a speech, in which he said that if the course taken by him is continued, then Ukraine must not fear any complications in her relations with international organizations. He added that next year Ukraine must pay more then three billion dollars to service foreign loans. Although it is quite impossible, no default threatens Ukraine. Nonetheless, just in several recent years the relations between Ukraine and many international organizations began to worsen.
The authors of the report made public declarations that financial aid from international organizations ought to be given to Ukraine, depending on the situation with human rights and, in particular, with the freedom of speech.