Are Ukrainian mass media able to protect human rights?

Yuri Chumak, Kharkiv
Participants of the seminar “Human rights and freedoms and mechanism of their protection”, which was held on 18-24 March near Kyiv, tried to answer this question. The seminar was organized for Ukrainian journalists by the Helsinki Foundation of human rights (Warsaw, Poland), and the public organizations “For professional aid” (Komsomolsk, the Poltava region). More than 30 journalists from all regions of Ukraine learned, how to orientate in the legal ocean, how to protect the rights of other people and how to protect themselves from the pressure of power. The trainers familiarized the mass media representatives with the philosophy of human rights, domestic, European and world mechanisms of the protection of human rights and freedoms, taught them how to prepare the materials so that to write the truth and not to get behind the bars…

“The patrol dogs of Ukrainian democracy” master the lessons in human rights and immediately created a peculiar informal journalist’ trade union, the members of which arranged to help each other with information, useful advices and, above all, the brotherly support in the case of pressure and persecutions. “Let us protect our rights together!” they decided.

Although the attention of new Ukrainian power to journalists is must better than in Kuchma’s times, but it is too early yet to celebrate victory. Many state officials have preserved their old seigniorial instincts, and they believe that the good press is the press that writes well about them. Journalists must permanently and emphatically work in the direction of establishing the normal cooperation of civil society and the power, and not owing to bootlicking, but, on the contrary, by means of creation of the developed informational environment, the environment of freedom and responsibility.

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