war crimes in Ukraine

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Human rights in Ukraine – 2004. IX. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION


The legislation of Ukraine on information largely inherited a Soviet style of regulation, according to which the protection of State interests took priority, and the right to freedom of expression remained secondary. The state-level advocacy of legal concepts unheard of in the democratic community such as «information security of the State» or, even worse, «national information sovereignty», has resulted in unwarranted restrictions on freedom of expression, which are inconsistent with international standards, and has also contributed to the backwardness of society and State in the development of the sphere of information and information exchange.

1. Freedom of the mass media and observance of the rights of journalists

Last year, freedom of the mass media and of journalists was restricted through systematic measures by the State authorities, resulting most overtly in the clear and undeniable imbalance of information at national and local levels, and in the absence of alternative or critical points of view. For this reason, the mass media failed largely to play their fundamental role in guaranteeing democracy. As a result of a certain let up in pressure from the Authorities, the situation partially improved in the national media during the Orange Revolution.[1]

In Ukraine there is no obligation to make known the owner of a media outlet. There are also no effective regulations for anti-monopoly restrictions on the information market. As a result, the most powerful national information resources (radio, television and newspapers) are concentrated in the hands of several individuals who, in their turn, are closely connected with and heavily dependent upon top-ranking officials in the country. For this reason, the media outlets which they control, do not criticize the Regime and are not capable of expressing any opinions which offer alternatives to the Regime’s position.

On the other hand, those media outlets which attempt to provide balanced information, encounter difficulties from law enforcement authorities, tax and controlling bodies, suspension of broadcasting on cable networks and other forms of pressure.

As a result of this, journalists find themselves under constant pressure from the owners and managers of their media outlets. Such conditions make it impossible for journalists to freely express their opinions, and many resort to a form of self-censorship in order to retain their jobs.

Moreover, journalists are frequently persecuted for publishing critical material. Law enforcement bodies do not generally make any effort to properly and efficiently investigate crimes connected with attacks on journalists, threats to them and obstacles placed in the way of their activity.

For example, the Independent Media Trade Union last year recorded 54 cases where journalists were attacked, and link the majority of these with the fulfillment of journalists’ duties. If one analyzes all cases where journalists have been attacked, one is forced to mention that criminal investigation units are highly reluctant to qualify these as crimes connected with their professional activity. It is by no means unlikely that such an attitude from the law enforcement bodies encourages those who with their own bad purposes are planning attacks on journalists to simulate robberies, accidents, malicious hooliganism, etc. In such instances it can be very difficult to ascertain the true motive for the crime.[2]

Sometimes such persecution of the mass media has been with the assistance of law enforcement or controlling (tax) bodies.

For example, Serhiy Boyko, the director of «Volya», Kyiv and Ukraine’s largest cable operator, and his deputy Valery Samoilov were arrested on 29 March 29 and charged with operating without a license (Part 2 of Article 202 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (CCU)), and later, with broadcasting on closed cable networks allegedly pornographic material in retransmitting foreign satellite channels such as Prіvate Gold, Spіce Platіnum and Prіvate Blue (Article 301 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). Shortly after these charges, «Volya» and its directors were presented with another charge – this time of legalizing (laundering) income obtained through criminal means (Article 209 of the CCU).

First the Commercial Court ruled that the activity of «Volya» was not subject to licensing. Then, some days later, the local court released those detained and declared the demands of the prosecutor’s office unfounded. Later on, the other charges were dropped.

The director was arrested for a second time, together with the account of the company «Volya-Cable» on 18 August, and charged with tax evasion. This took place several hours after the Appeal Court in Kyiv confirmed the local court’s ruling that the charges of the prosecutor’s office had been unfounded. The arrested were released in the evening of 21 August.

Employees of «Volya» asserted that the real reason for the persecution was the refusal by the largest Ukrainian cable television operator to remove the broadcasting of the opposition television channel «Channel 5» from its social package, which is watched by most subscribers, especially in Kyiv, and to add other television channels to this package, including a television channel which at that time belonged to the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, G. Vasilyev.

One of the foreign owners of «Volya» subsequently sold his share in the company, while the Director, S. Boyko resigned from his post on 13 September

Given such systematic practice involving pressure on the mass media and journalist, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, on 16 March 2004 passed Resolution № 1604-IV, which, in order to ensure the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech in Ukraine, as well as the free expression and pluralism of opinions, recommended that the State Tax Administration cancel its plan for checks on media outlets for the period of the 2004 Presidential election campaign in Ukraine. Then on 6 April 2004, the State Tax Administration issued a directive, obliging the heads of State Tax Administration offices to refrain from conducting tax checks of the business activities of media outlets during the election campaign for President of Ukraine.

Despite these documents, the regulatory authorities did make attempts to carry out such checks. For example, a check was carried out of the Lithuanian subsidiary „Publishing, News and Advertising Agency „Taki Spravy», which is a co-founder of the Taki Spravy Plus Chronicle (June 2004).

In widespread use throughout last year was the distribution by the Presidential Administration of Ukraine of unofficial instructions stating whether or not certain events should be covered, how this or that information should be treated, sometimes indicating specific quotations and certain events on which to concentrate, as well as events and specific individuals about whom to say nothing (so called «temnyki»[3]). These instructions were not formal, however the non-fulfillment of them led to attempts to put pressure on the media outlet and its owners, for example, by law enforcement bodies or regulatory authorities.

On 3 June, an exhibition of such «temnyki» was put on display in the parliamentary lobby. «Temnyki» from different years were presented on two stands. The first was dated October 2001 while the most recent was from May 2004. Also on display at the exhibition were letters of the President, signed by the heads of the Main Office for Information Policy, which gave instructions to regional TV companies to broadcast specific video footage. Among the «temnyki», there was also a schedule which indicated the order in which topics relating to political reforms were to be presented in broadcasts of private television channels. A unique exhibit was a letter ordering media representatives to report on their compliance with these «temnyki».[4]

However, the use of «temnyki» was abandoned several days into the «Orange Revolution», this being due more to the position of the owners and top managers of TV and radio companies, as well as protests from journalists, rather than to a change in the regime (the regime in fact only changed a month and a half after this).

The number of suits seeking damages in huge figures for the publication of defamatory material, as well as the overall number of suits, decreased significantly from May 2003 after a law was passed imposing limitations through the application of a differential rate of State duty, and, consequently, a decrease in the amounts of compensation. This law was also the first to abolish responsibility for the dissemination of value judgments and to limit the right of officials of State executive bodies to file such defamation suits. One should note a clear tendency: suits against media outlets began to concentrate mainly not on compensation for damages, but on ensuring public withdrawal of false information spread.

In 2004, according to information from the State Judicial Administration, courts received 442 claims against media outlets in cases defending honour, dignity and business reputation. A further 280 claims were still in the courts from previous years. In total, the courts considered 514 cases against the mass media during the year.

The courts concluded their review of 250 cases and passed decisions, of which in 158 cases the suit was satisfied. Awards against media outlets were made to the sum of 591 thousand UH. That is, on average, media outlets had to pay 3 744 UH in each case (approximately 700 US dollars). One should note that the amount of compensation sought in these cases was significantly higher: over 20 million UH State duty to the sum of 251 437 UH was paid.

The Civil Code of Ukraine (CC), which came into force on 1 January, contains a regulation stating that «negative information disseminated about a person is untruthful», on the basis of which journalists and media outlets have been persecuted for making critical remarks. A number of other regulations appeared in this code which limit freedom of speech to an unwarranted extent. For example, one must also consider as extremely strange and dangerous the statement in Part three of Article 296 of the CC that «the information presented by an official or functionary when carrying out official duties is reliable». A monopoly on truth by „officials or functionaries when carrying out official duties» not only contravenes Ukrainian legislation, but also defies common sense.

A Draft with amendments to these regulations was introduced to parliament, however by the end of the year it had not been passed. On 12 May, one such draft had actually been rejected by parliament, despite calls from the public to pass the law.

The introduction of new legislation on the protection of public morality in Ukraine began in January of last year (The Law of Ukraine «On the protection of public morality» and related amendments to other laws). In accordance with this law, a State body for the protection of public morality is created. Its functions include stopping the distribution (without a court order) and the use of sanctions against the distribution of material which violates public morality (of a pornographic or erotic nature, or with the use of cruelty or violence, etc). It also introduces licensing of those who are entitled to distribute such products and provides for individual licensing of each item of material. Such licensing constitutes, in effect, preliminary censorship of works, which is prohibited by the Constitution of Ukraine, since, for example, one needs to obtain the relevant licence before printing a book.

One should note here that the above-mentioned legislation does not clearly define what can violate public morality, and its definitions are extremely vague and littered with value judgments. Therefore, an individual, distributing such a work, would not be able to foresee that his or her action was against the law.

Strict sanctions are set out for the violation of this legislation: heavy fines, criminal penalties and the closure of the media outlet. Last year, however, no cases were seen where such regulations were applied. To a large extent this is explained by the fact that the State body regulating the protection of public morality did not actually begin its work last year.

2. Television and Radio Broadcasting

The level of freedom of speech on television and radio rose only during the Orange Revolution. Before that time, there had been a clear lack of balance in coverage of events.

However, local television channels and radio stations retained their bias and involvement throughout the entire year. This was particularly evident in eastern and southern regions of Ukraine.

Opposition forces were effectively denied access to the national mass media throughout the year. Only during the Orange Revolution did the situation change for the better, and then, not at a local level.

State national and local television channels and radio stations depend entirely on the executive branch of power and give a one-sided view of events with a lack of any normal criticism of executive bodies or the ruling political forces.

In Ukraine, as well as State television and radio, there are television studios and printed publications (newspapers and journals) of various State executive bodies (the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor, the Tax Administration, the Armed Services, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Customs Service and other). These forms of mass media do not serve as a source of important information, but rather perform the role of a mouthpiece for positive propaganda about the specific executive body, and present virtually no alternative or critical opinions.

At the same time, the country has virtually no public (civic) television or radio. The Law of Ukraine «On Television and Broadcasting» was passed several years ago, but any decision to create public (civic) television or radio has never actually been taken.

The State body which regulates television and broadcasting (the National Television and Broadcasting Council of Ukraine) is dependent on the President and Parliament which makes it impossible for it to carry out its functions fully. In particular, any member of this body can be dismissed from his or her post at any time, making the members entirely dependent on the decisions taken and on the body which appointed them. As a result of such dependence and of other shortcomings in legislation, the issuing of licenses is carried out behind closed doors and in a biased fashion, while the supervisory functions of the body are largely formal.

This dependence is especially manifested in the discriminatory policy as regards the licensing of television and radio organizations.

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a new version of the Law «On the National Television and Broadcasting Council of Ukraine», however the President used his power of veto against the law. In brief, the objections of the President boiled down to one issue: he did not approve of the existence of an independent regulating body in the sphere of television and broadcasting.

On 11 May, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed a Law «On amendments to certain legislative acts of Ukraine» taking into regard the President’s comments» (Reg. No. 2663). This law had previously been passed on 9 July 2003, however the President had used his power of veto. In fact, the deputies passed virtually the same law, the amendments concerning only the definition of confidential information to be considered property of the State.

The amendments introduced to the Law on the Press significantly narrow the boundaries of the constitutional right to information. In particular: Part 1 of Article 2 «Freedom of activity of the printed means of mass media» now declares «the right of every citizen to freely and independently look for, receive, locate, keep, use and circulate any information which is open under the rules of access with the help of printed means of mass media». The main right of journalists to information is similarly narrowed: a journalist now has «the right to freely receive, use, circulate (publish) and keep that information which is open under the rules of access (p.1 of Part 2 Article 26).[5]

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine also passed a Law «On the national radio frequency resource», which came into force on 21 October 2004. According to the above-mentioned amendments, the National Television and Broadcasting Council of Ukraine becomes the only body which can issue licenses for broadcasting in Ukraine. The new version of the law:

abolishes the system of double licensing of television and radio organizations by both the National Television and Broadcasting Council and the State Committee on Communications, the latter being a State executive body, dependent on the President which had been used by the State regime to exert pressure on television and radio organizations;

removes the possibility of unauthorized disconnection by communication firms of television and radio organizations, including disconnection for political reasons.

Opposition television channels were systematically disconnected on local cable networks for supposedly technical reasons. For example, «Channel 5» was disconnected in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and many other cities. The official position was that this was for technical reasons. However in private conversations, owners of cable operators spoke of incredible pressure being put on them from local executive bodies and law enforcement officers. To this day, none of those responsible have been punished.

3. Chronicle of Journalist Protest

Over the last years there have been many conflict situations with various media outlets, the main reason for which have been demands from their owners or managers on journalists to observe an unwritten editorial policy, according to which it was in principle impossible to provide positive information about representatives of the opposition, and sometimes even to mention them, or to give negative information about representatives of the pro-regime forces. Such conflicts usually ended in the dismissal of journalists, or their moving to more liberal media outlets.

Larger-scale acts of protest concerning the right of journalists to freedom of speech occurred periodically: in relation to the murder of journalists, the increased use of «temnyki», and other issues.

In the second half of last year, the increase in pressure from the State authorities on the mass media during the election campaign resulted in an according decrease in journalist freedom and at the same time a rise in disgruntlement with the existing situation.

Those opposition media outlets which maintain certain standards with respect to freedom of expression experienced significant pressure from the State authorities, manifested in various ways: electricity being cut off, refusals to print their material, disconnection of television chashe cannot present data on the situation in Ukraine as a whole. She commented that she knew of some law enforcement officers having had charges brought against them for using unlawful methods to people held in detention only thanks to some regional prosecutors, ‘who were fearless and courageous enough to provide such information’».

In response to a similar request to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and its regional departments, the Chief Editor of «Prava Ludyny» received responses providing information from the central apparatus of the Ministry, from 22 regional departments and from the Sevastopol City Department, which suggests greater openness of police offices in comparison with offices of the prosecutor. The largest number of complaints about unlawful actions was recorded by the Luhansk Regional Department – around 1,800 complaints a year, of which 10 to 20% were satisfied; next was the Donetsk Region – around 1,300 complaints a year, of which 34% were satisfied. The maximum ratio of satisfied complaints was 55% - in the Kherson and Sumy Regions. It is worth noting that no police officer has been convicted under Article 373 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Article 175 of in the 1960 version), and the number of those convicted for exceeding their authority (Articles 365 or 166 of the 1960 version) is also small. On the whole, the number of complaints, satisfied complaints, and the number of law enforcement officers convicted nnels from cable networks, issuing of notice for cancelling licences, threats, arson, and so forth. All of this directly affected journalists who could not work in such conditions.

At 9 p.m. on 20 October, instead of broadcasting its usually news program, Channel 5 broadcast live a press-conference of the managers of the channel who spoke about the systematic pressure the channel had been exposed to over a long period.

The final events triggering this move were the decisions of the Commercial Appeal Court to cancel the decision of the National Council to issue a license to the TV channel «Express-Inform» (this meaning «Channel 5» in Kyiv on the basis of a suit filed by the TV channel «TV Studio «News Service» and that of the Pechersky District Court to allow a claim by State Deputy Volodymyr Sivkovych against Petro Poroshenko and NBM Channel, which led to the arrest of NBM’s accounts[6]

Employees of the channel made the following demands:

1. To the Pechersky District Court in Kyiv – to release «Channel 5»’s accounts «.

2. To the National Television and Broadcasting Council:

 to call an extraordinary session and there to recognize «Channel 5» the winner of the first, and not the repeat tender for broadcasting on 48 TVK in Kyiv;

 to ensure the compliance with licensing agreements of «Channel 5» broadcasting on cable networks in the regions of Ukraine.

3. To State Deputy V. Sivkovych:

 to publicly apologize for his cynical use of «Channel 5» as an instrument of blackmail for his own political purposes.

„The Board of Directors and journalists of Channel 5 find themselves in the position – their statement read, – that in the case of failure to meet the demands of «Channel 5»[7] or if there is no reaction, the management and initiative group of journalists will begin a hunger strike on October 25, at 21:00 p. m»..

Since the demands were not met, the journalists called a hunger strike on 25 October at 21.00, during a live broadcast.

On 28 October, journalists from five central television channels (ICTV, «Inter», «Novy Kanal [New Channel]», «Tonis» and «NTN» publicly spoke of the pressure which was being exerted by both the State authorities and the owners of the channels, leading to a situation where information of public importance was being presented to the viewer in a distorted fashion.

Their position was connected with pressure on the mass media from representatives of the State Authorities, who were forcing television channels and their owners to cover events in a distorted way, or to simply not mention socially important news items.

Journalists who understand the responsibility they themselves bear for the fate of the country made a pubfor unlawful actions have decreased considerably in all regions.

The main source of information about cases of torture or ill-treatment remains reports in the media, as well as information obtained from civic organizations.

Approximately 200 reports of cases where the use of torture is alleged were received through the information network, created under the auspices of the project «Campaign against Torture and Cruel Treatment in Ukraine». Ninety three persons sent complaints to the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, which allege the use of torture and ill treatment on the part of law enforcement officers. From the results of media monitoring, carried out by the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, in 2004 56 cases involving the use of torture were reported. Six of these cases resulted in the death of the victim.

The cases described below which allegedly involved torture by law enforcement officers, are receiving legal assistance from the Fund for the Professional Support to Victims of Torture and Inhuman Treatment.

Case of Ivan Nechiporuk (Khmelnitsky)

On 20 May 2004 between 1 and 2pm, Ivan Nechiporuk was detained by police officers and brought to the South-West District Police Station in the city of Khmelnitsky. At about midnight, he was taken to Office No. 4, where police officers suggested that he confess to the murder of I. They proceeded to interrogate him until 4 in the morning, accompanying questions with threats. As to what happened next, here is Ivan Nechiporuk’s own story: «They brought a hexagonal crow-bar and a plastic bag; in this bag there was a dynamo with thick stranded cables. They handcuffed me, inserted the crow-bar between my elbows and knees, and suspended me between desks (there are markings left by the crow-bar: the desks were varnished, but some of the varnish was scraped off)… Rybalko [the name of one of the police officers] took the dynamo out of the bag and attached the two cables to my legs. Then he started turning the dynamo, asking, ‘Where is the gun? Who fired the shot?’ The pain was unbearable; I screamed so much that my lips cracked… Meanwhile Martsinyuk [another police officer] held a pillow over my face to silence me… Rybalko said that next they would attach the cable to ‘intimate spots’… There was also Igor, a tall guy with black hair in a crew-cut, he also helped to pin me up and get me down from the crow-bar. Shortly after 7am I scream that I’ll sign everything… Closer to 8 a.m. they stopped the ‘procedures,’ because I told them that I would make a confession».

Case of Yury Golubev (Kyiv)

On the morning of 14 February 2004, Yury Golubev left a friend’s place and walked toward his car. As he leaned over the boot of the car, he received a blow to the head and fell to the ground. When he came to, he saw a man in civilian clothes pointing a gun at him, while another man handcuffed him. When he asked them who they were, he received several punches and kicks. It was only when they drove him to the building of the Main Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on Volodymirska Street, that he realized that they were police officers. There they took him into a room where they demanded that he confess to several crimes.

Yuriy relates his story: «They punched and kicked me on my head, torso, and genitals, so that I almost lost consciousness. I felt dizzy and nauseous. I kept screaming, begging them to stop the beating, but my pleas only made them beat me more viciously. That ordeal lasted for quite some time. Then they asked me to sign some papers… Then they started threatening that if I refused to sign the papers, at very best I would leave that room a cripple, they would beat off all my internal organs, and I would urinate with blood and that I’d never be able to have sex with a woman again, because they would beat off all my organs. Or at worst, they would kill me and take my body to a forest, and bury it in a ditch, so that nobody would ever find me, since the detention was informal and was not recorded anywhere…»

«A few more people came into the room, holding a gasmask and bottles, which they began to use. From the gasmask and the smoke from the cigarettes, which they blew into it, I felt giddy, faint. I felt as though I was suffocating, I couldn’t breathe. I was faint also because of blows to my head from the bottles, I could hardly understand, what was happening…»

Case of Yevhen Ismailov (Kyiv)

On 11 September 2004, Yevhen Ismailov was detained by police officers of the Holosiyvskiy District Station of the Main Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Kyiv. He was beaten when detained, and then later in the district police station.

On September 13, he underwent a forensic medical examination, which established numerous bodily injuries. Ismailov submitted a complaint to the prosecutor’s office, but on October 7 the latter refused to initiate a criminal investigation. On October 19, the Holosiyvskiy District Court in Kyiv overturned this decision to refuse to begin a criminal investigation. The prosecutor’s office has appealed.

Case of Valery Krykun (Kyiv Region)

On 28 March 2004, Valery Krykun was detained and taken from his home by police officers of the Brovary district police station (Kyiv Region). As he stated in his complaint, «On the fourth day [of his detention] police officers took me into a room in a temporary detention centre… The Gestapo sadists in police uniforms punched me in the head and the ears and threatened to leave me to rot there. They demanded that I confess to having taken out ‘a contract’ on my own father»

On 10 April 2004, Valery Krykun was detained for the second time and taken to the district police station. He relates: «After a while, two heavy-set men in civilian clothes came into the room. Without any explanation… they started calling me names, threatening me, and then began sadistically and brutally torturing me: they kicked me in the face, punched and elbowed me on my back, head, demanding that I sign a confession. They didn’t give me a chance to say a word in my defence, and when I tried to say something, they continued their savage torture. When… they saw that I was holding out and refusing to admit to a crime I hadn’t committed, they asked their colleagues to bring in police clubs. …They… continued to enjoy themselves beating me, this time with the clubs, on my back, head, legs, and the lower part of my belly. I fell off the chair, because I couldn’t fend off terrible blows from the two clubs, and I couldn’t hold on to the chair, because my hands were handcuffed behind my back. As I lic statement and called on their colleagues to support their wish to work in a professional manner and to provide the community with many-sided and reliable information about what was happening in Ukraine.[8]

The statement of journalists from Ukrainian television channels

We, as journalists from Ukrainian television channels, are concerned about the threat of distorted coverage of the decisive phase of the elections.

Despite standards of professional journalism, the State authorities, and under pressure from them the owners and managers of television channels, are seeking to hush up important events or to twist them.

We recognize our responsibility for providing people with information on the basis of which they can take their own decisions.

We therefore demand that the following standards be observed when covering events:

1. All information programs must inform the public about all socially significant events;.

2. All information programs must present all significant points of view on the events they cover;

3. All information which is broadcast must have been checked and contain references to sources;

We undertake to adhere to these standards.

We are convinced that full and professional coverage of the decisive phase of the elections is vitally important to our audience.

We call on our colleagues to join us and support our position!

In all, the public statement, which was placed on the website of the Internet publication «Telekritika», was signed by 346 journalists and employees of electronic mass media.

Also on 28 October, seven journalists from the News Service of Studio «1 + 1», (Natalka Fitsych, Yulia Borysko, Viktor Zablotsky, Ihor Sklyarevsky, Fedir Sydoruk, Halyna Betsko and Maryana Voronovych) resigned from the channel after all attempts at negotiation over rejection of a policy of following «temnyki» and censorship with the management of the «Television News Service» (TNS) failed. They said that under present conditions they were unable to fulfil their duties in a professional manner and to provide society with truthful information. «Our television profession has finally become a puppet serving the interests of those to whom «1+1» has been handed by its owners for political use», – the former employees of the television channel commented.[9]

It was only on 2 November that employees and journalists of «Channel 5» ended their hunger strike, since the accounts of the TV channel were released, however other demands remained unfulfilled. The channel was also reinstated on some cable networks, in particular, in Donetsk.

According to the press service of the journalist movement for professional rights, the presenter of «Visti» news program on National TV Channel One (UT-1), Volodymir Holosnyak, who had refused to read news according to «temnyki»[10], was withdrawn from his work on November 9. He was taken off the broadcast timetable for a week without any explanation, although according to plan, he should have appeared on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The next day, 13 journalists of the program «Visti» on Channel One asked the first Vice President of the National Television Channel of Ukraine, Mykola Kanishevsky, and the Director of the News Association, Artem Petrenko, to approve an agreement on editorial policy. At the same time, journalists unilaterally undertook to observe the agreement which indicated a refusal to work any longer according to «temnyki».

The text of the proposed agreement

«We, as journalists of National Television Channel One, work in one team and carry out a common task.

We do not support any political force and do not plan to serve anyone, except the people.

We have a single aim – to provide society with objective information.

As guard over our work, we place our conscience, skills and commitment to high professional standards».

The agreement on editorial policy

The editorial policy of National Television Channel One is based on the following principles:

1. Information bulletins and programs must objectively cover all main socially significant events. (The Law of Ukraine «On information», Articles 5, 6, 9 and 10).

2. In each information bulletin there must be well-maintained balance: opposing points of view shall be provided on events which are covered. (The Law of Ukraine «On information», Articles 9 and 10).

3. Information being broadcast should be checked, and contain references to sources (The Law of Ukraine «On Television and Broadcasting», Paragraph b of Article 39).

4. The choice of topics and formulation of feature programs is the sole prerogative of the Chief Editor, the issue editor and of the reporters. Suggestions and recommendations from other individuals as to the choice of topics or formulation of feature programs must be considered by the above-mentioned people and decided upon at their discretion.

5. Interference of State bodies, officials, public organizations, individual citizens in the creative activity of journalists and censorship as control over the ideological content of issues are inadmissible. (The Law of Ukraine «On Television and Broadcasting» Article 6).

6. A journalist has the right to refuse to carry out instructions of the editorial board if these contravene current legislation (The Law of Ukraine «On Television and Broadcasting», Paragraph з, Article 38).

7. All features should be submitted for broadcast with the signatures of the journalists involved. Exceptions may be allowed only at the request of the journalist who prepared the material if it could endanger him or her. The author of the material has the right to sign it under his / her own name, or under a pseudonym. (The Law of Ukraine «On Television and Broadcasting», Paragraph e, Article 38).

8. Only the journalist who filmed a feature program has the right to hand its preparation over to another journalist or editor (The Law of Ukraine «On Television and Broadcasting», Article 39).

9. No changes in the subject matter may be broadcast without the consent of the journalist who prepared the material. (The Law of Ukraine «On Television and Broadcasting», Paragraph ж, Article 38).

10. The Provisions of this Agreement on Editorial Policy are mandatory for all those who are in any way involved in the creation of information programs and projects of National Television Channel One, regardless of their place of work or form of involvement: on a staff or free-lance basis, or in an independent company-producer.

The Management of Channel One (UT-1) refused to enter into an agreement on editorial policy with the journalists. Then on 15 November, all journalists who had spoken out against «temnyki» and censorship were in different ways removed from their jobs.

The next day, 16 November, journalists from other television channels held a picket against censorship at the Kyiv television center at 42 Melnikova Street where UT-1 is based.

According to the Internet publication «Ukrainska Pravda», two presenters of TV Channel „1+1» Oles Tereschenko and Andriy Tychyna on 21 November refused to host the Presidential marathon at the channel because of «temnyki».[11].

The very next day, presenters of the Television News Service (TNS) on TV Channel „1+1» refused to go on air. Instead of the TNS on Channel „1+1» there was a program with Vyacheslav Pikhovshek, and everybody watched a review of the news, prepared and presented by one person according to clearly defined «temnyki». That decision put an end to the negotiations of presenters and journalists of the TNS program with one of the channel managers, Volodymyr Oseledchyk. Journalists declared that the negotiatfell on the floor, I felt an awful pain through my whole body. I had never felt such a terrible pain before. … I felt giddy, at moments I lost consciousness… It seemed clear that if I refused to sign what they wanted, they’d beat me to death. So, I agreed to write everything [they] told me to… because I understood if I refused to follow their demands… they would beat me to death. Every time I paused for a second and stopped writing, or said something different from what they wanted to hear, they immediately started beating me with their clubs below my belly. … Then they took me to a temporary detention centre and ‘shut me inside’ for 3 days».

Case of Serhiy Korvyakov (Kirovohrad Region)

On 9 February 2004, in 11:30am, officers of the criminal investigative operations unit at the Svitlovodsk District Department of Internal Affairs, without any court order, came to Serhiy Korvyakov’s apartment and took him into custody on suspicion of using narcotics. During his apprehension, he was severely beaten by those police officers.

According to Korvyakov, in the police station he was subjected to torture with the use of handcuffs, a gasmask, and a rubber club – in order to obtain confessions to any crimes that he might have committed over the last two years. Hearing that the police officers were going to rape him with the use of a rubber club, Korvyakov tried to jump out from a window in the room which was on the third floor of the city police station, but the police officers stopped him.

Due to a deterioration in Korvyakov’s state of health by the end of the third day of his detention, the police officers called an ambulance and took him to hospital. He was in hospital from February 12 to February 23.

Case of Kostyantyn Kurazov (Dnipropetrovsk Region)

On 3 September 2004, businessman Kostyantyn Kurazov, a refugee from Chechnya and permanent resident of the city of Kryvy Rig (Dnipropetrovsk Region), was approached by three officers of the Department on Fighting Organized Crime (UBOZ) in Kryvy Rig, who told him that they were detaining him in connection with the terror attack in Beslan (Russian Federation). He was taken to the UBOZ, where for two hours he was beaten by three UBOZ officers, demanding that he confess to being involved in organizing the terrorist attack. Later they chained him with handcuffs to a handrail on the front-steps at the entrance to the police station and held him in this position for almost four hours. He was then placed in a centre for the reception and allocation of vagrants for a term of 30 days, although the police officers were well aware that he had a family and permanent residence.

Case of Denis Kuyan (Kirovohrad Region)

On 24 February 2004, Denis Kuyan was detained by police officers and brought to an inter-district station in the town of Svitlovodsk (Kirovohrad Region). The police officers started to beat him, demanding that he confess to committing the crimes they were accusing him of. At first they beat him with rubber clubs and punched him in the chest, and then, after handcuffing him, they hit him over the head with an armchair. The beating lasted several hours. He was then taken to a pre-trial detention centre in Kirovohrad.

On March 4, as Kuyan’s health deteriorated, he was placed in the Svitlovodsk Central District Hospital with the following diagnosis: «erysipelas of the thorax». He went through several operations in the hospital, but his health did not improve and he was continuously kept in an emergency care ward. Kuyan spent a month in all in the hospital and is still being routinely treated.

On March 17, he underwent a forensic medical examination, which established a fracture to his sternum in its middle third and a haemorrhage in the soft tissues of the front surface of his sternum.

Case of Andriy Yatsuta (Kharkiv)

On 24 May 2004, around 8am, Kharkiv resident Andriy Yatsuta was detained by police officers and taken to the Zhovtnevy District Police Station in Kharkiv. In the police station, he was told that he was suspected of involvement in the robbery of Ms. L. According to Yatsuta, in the investigator’s office, he was beaten by police officers: they hit him around the area of his liver, sternum, and on his head. They also tortured him with the use of a gasmions with the management of the channel would continue.

On 23 November, the independent media trade union of Ukraine called on journalists to join a national strike in order to ensure the presentation of honest and objective news.

Journalists of the program «Visti» of National TV Channel One (UT-1) called a strike and stopped broadcasting. In their open letter, they state in particular:

«For a month through negotiations with the management of the National TV Channel of Ukraine we have been trying to change the situation with the presentation of information in news broadcasts towards greater balance and objectivity. Unfortunately, we have not achieved the result we were seeking. The management of the television company is not entitled to influence the content of the news. This violates the law of Ukraine on information, the right of Ukrainians to receive objective, full, socially important information. We consider such news products illegitimate and do not wish to be associated with their creation».

On 25 November, on Channel UT-1, during a news bulletin at 11 in the morning which is given with parallel translation into sign language, the translator into the latter, Natalya Dmytruk ignored the text of the main presenter, Tetyana Kravchenko, about the announcement by the Central Election Commission (CEC) about the results of the elections. Instead of this, she informed her viewers the following: «The results of the CEC are rigged. Don’t believe them. Our President is Yushchenko. I am very sorry that until this moment, we had to translate lies. I will no longer take part in this. I don’t know if we will see each other again». After this, she joined those who had earlier declared a strike.

On that same day, Channel «1+1» rejected «temnyki», reinstated full information coverage and guaranteed the presentation of full and unbiased information. On a live broadcast which was transmitted in top viewing time over more than 90 percent of the country, journalists and management of the television channel issued the following statement:

Statement of TV Channel „1+1»

We are conscious of our responsibility for the biased nature of the information, which has thus far been disseminated by the channel under pressure and on the instructions of different political forces. The present confrontation in society compels us to clearly state our principles for future work. From now on, only staff and management of Studio «1+1» will be responsible for the television product’s content. We guarantee that any information presented by our channel, will be complete and unbiased in accordance with professional standards of journalism.

On broadcasts of «1+1» all significant events both in Ukraine and beyond will be given coverage and equal opportunities will be provided for all participants of socio-political life to state their positions. These principles will be observed as long as the channel continues broadcasting»

Oleksandr Rodnyansky, Volodymyr Oseledchyk, Maksym Varlamov, Alla Mazur, Lyudmyla Dobrovolska, Anna Bezulyk, Oles Tereschenko, Andriy Tychyna, Maryna Kukhar, Anatoliy Borsyuk, Vakhtang Kipiani, Olha Herasymyuk, Yuriy Makarov, Serhiy Polkhovsky, Serhiy Dolbilov, Yevhen Zinchenko, Marichka Padalko, Anatoliy Yerema, Vyacheslav Pikhovshek and all the staff of «1+1» Studio.[12]

That same day, almost all national TV channels refused to use «temnyki», and began presenting the news in a predominantly balanced form, presenting different viewpoints and giving the opposition the right to speak

4. Overview of the Most Important Facts

The former director of Radio «Continent», Serhiy Sholokh, left for the USA, where on 28 October he was granted political asylum. Radio «Continent» broadcast news of foreign radio stations, in particular, of Radio «Liberty». For that reasons, the radio station had experienced constant pressure from State executive bodies and governmental and regulatory bodies. Then on 3 March, 2004, the broadcasting equipment of the radio station was seized on a charge of broadcasting without a licence from the National Television and Broadcasting Council of Ukraine.

Volodymyr Chistilin, the editor of the news agency „Status Quo» (the only regional agency in Kharkiv), was dismissed on October 29 in Kharkiv supposedly for unexplained absence from work, although he was told of this only on November 1. He claimed that he had been fired for the political publications of the agency. Within the framework of the Legal Assistance Fund of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, lawyer Petro Buschenko filed a suit demanding that Chistilin be reinstated at his work. The case is now in court.

The editorial board of the Donetsk opposition publication – the weekly «Ostrov» [«Island»] – encountered problems with printing facilities being blocked. The printing company «Donbas» informed the editorial board that it would no longer print its newspapers. The reason given in the letter was the huge load on their equipment and regular failures of their printing presses. The Director of the printing press, during a telephone conversation, aask, inserting a lit cigarette through a plug made of paper or cloth with a cigarette-wide hole in its flexible hose. They also beat him with a plastic bottle filled with water; they chained him with handcuffs and suspended him onto a steel crow-bar. With his head in the gasmask, Yatsuta lost consciousness several times due to lack of air; they brought him around by using liquid ammonia. During breaks between torture sessions, the police officers demanded that he confess to stealing a mobile phone.

The police officers, seeing that Yatsuta was in a bad state, drove him around the city for two hours, threatening to get him if he told anyone what had happened to him. Around 8:30pm he was driven to his home.

On May 25, Yatsuta went to Hospital No. 4, and on May 27, underwent an examination at the Kharkiv Regional Bureau of Medical Forensic Examinations. Yatsuta attended the outpatients department of Hospital No. 26 from June 3 to June 29.

Case of Oleksy Ignatenko (Kharkiv)

According to Oleksy Ignatenko, on 2 January 2004, he was set upon by strangers, who inflicted blows to various parts of his body. They took away the keys to his apartment and 25 UH [$5], and then kicked him. Oleksy lost consciousness. When he came to, he found himself, handcuffed, being driven somewhere in a car. The strangers, it turned out, were officers of a police unit fighting drug trafficking. The police officers continuing beating him, demanding that he tell them the address of his apartment. Once they found out the address, the police officers, with him, entered the apartment and searched it without a search warrant.

They then drove Ignatenko to the Moskovsky District Station, where they beat him again, demanding that he make a confession. By kicking and beating him, they forced him into signing some protocols, printed on a typewriter. On January 6, around 4pm, Ignatenko was released. Releasing him, the police officer threatened Ignatenko, that if he told anyone what had happened to him, they would make him suffer, or even kill him.

1.2. Conclusions from sociological research

Within the framework of the project Campaign against torture and cruel treatment in Ukraine’ one of KHRG’s partners – the Kharkiv Institute for Sociological Research[3] - has finished the first stage of its sociological research concerning the use of torture in police offices. Below is the summary of the main results of this research stage.

The research conducted so far has shown that unlawful coercion is widely used in the activities of the Ukrainian police. During their lifetime, 23% of those surveyed had encountered situations, where police, in principle, could inflict on them beatings, torments, and torture (placing them in a pre-trial detention centre or a temporary detention facility, being taken as a suspect to a police station, being detained and / or frisked on the street by a police patrol, receiving a summons to appear at police station either as suspect or witness). One third of the respondents, who had had such dealings with the police (7.3% of those asked) had been subjected to unlawful coercion in order to uncover or provide information about a crime.

Of those surveyed, 3% had been victims of unlawful coercion by police officers within the last 12 months; 6% – earlier. 10 to 12% had at least one person among their family members, relatives, or close friends, who had suffered from unlawful coercion by police officers.

The likelihood of becoming a victim of unlawful coercion by police officers, according to the research, is fairly high: for those held in pre-trial detention centres there was a 65% likelihood, in temporary detention facilities - 57ssured the Editor of «Ostrov» that there were no other reasons, besides technical difficulties, for terminating their agreement. Later «Ostrov» met with refusals to provide printing facilities with similar reasons given from 14 (!) printing presses, not only in the Donetsk area, but in neighbouring regions.

On 28 January, the Shevchenkivsky District Court in Kyiv passed a resolution to close the newspaper «Silski visti» which, in contravention of Ukrainian laws, had been provoking inter-ethnic hostility. The suit was filed in court by the International Anti-Fascist Committee and the United Jewish Committee of Ukraine, headed by Vadim Rabinovych. The court passed its decision to suspend issue of the newspaper «Silski visti» on the basis of the violation by the newspaper of Part 1 of the Article 3 of the Law of Ukraine on the Mass Media (printed versions) by dissemination information which advocated inter-ethnic hostility. According to the court’s verdict, the newspaper «Silski visti», in issues from 15 November 2002 to 30 September 2003 had published articles by Vasyl Yaremenko «The Myth about Ukrainian anti-Semitism» and «Jews in Ukraine today: the reality without myths». The court recognized that these articles contained information which were an incitement to hostility between different nationalities. However the decision of the court has still not come into force as an appeal was lodged. The review of the appeal has still not ended.

On 5 February, the Pechersky District Court of Kyiv passed its decision on the suit filed by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Mykola Bilokin, against the weekly «Dzerkalo Tyzhnya» and its Deputy Editor, Yulia Mostova, defending his honour, dignity, business reputation, and seeking compensation for moral damages. The court ruled that the information contained in the Article «No air to breathe»[13] about the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine was not true and was a smear against the honour, dignity and business reputation of Bilokin. The Court of first jurisdiction bound the weekly «Dzerkalo Tyzhnya», within a month, to refute the information on the same page of the newspaper, in the same font and size, and awarded Bilokin 2,000 UH from the joint stock company «Dzerkalo Tyzhnya» and 1,025 UH from Mostova. According to its representatives, the newspaper partially accepted the claim. However, according to information in «Telekritika», this was connected with the author’s refusal to name the source of the information.[14]

The State Committee for Nationality and Migration Affairs prepared 12 suits against the Lviv newspaper «Idealist» for disseminating material which advocates inter-ethnic hostility. The first court hearing began in the middle of August and had not finished by the end of the year.

On 29 December%, for individuals brought to a police station as a suspect - 36%, for those detained on the street and frisked - 31%, while for a witness, summoned to appear at a police station - the likelihood was 8%. Even, if a person had never encountered such a situation, there was still a 1% probability that he or she would become the victim of unlawful coercion by police officers.

The most common forms of physical coercion during detention are ill-treatment, torture, and beatings, while in the course of criminal investigations the most common are beatings, inflicting of bodily injuries, to a lesser extent, torture and torture using special means or techniques. The most common forms of psychological coercion are degrading treatment; intimidation; threats, including towards close relatives; blackmail.

Of all those surveyed:

- 52% believe that unlawful coercion must not be used under any circumstances;

- 31% believe that it is justified in exceptional cases;

- 14% consider the use of unlawful coercion to certain groups or categories of people justified;

- 3% believe that police cannot operate without it.

The main reasons of unlawful coercion, in popular opinion, are as follows:

– impunity of those police officers, who use unlawful methods in their work (48%);

– low professional and educational level of police officers (38%);

– poor staff recruitment, when people with sadistic inclination, the local court of the Frankisky district of Lviv accepted a suit by State Deputy V. Yavorivsky against the newspaper «Moloda Halychyna» defending honour, dignity and business reputation and demanding a withdrawal of inaccurate information about him. The newspaper had written that the Deputy had, in Soviet times, been an agent of the KGB and had written denunciations, and that he had also been involved in the murder of the Chief Editor of «Literaturna Ukraina», L. Plyusch. As well as demanding that the information be refuted, the court awarded compensation to the State Deputy of 30 thousand UH (approximately 5.6 thousand US dollars), instead of the 100 thousand which Yavorivsky had demanded.[15]

According to information from a Crimean news agency, on 11 February, the Appeal Court of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (ARC) accepted a claim made by State Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of the ARC, Mykola Kotlyarevsky, against the editorial office of the newspaper «Yevpatoriysky Tyzhden» and its Editor, Volodymyr Lutyev, defending honour, dignity and business reputation, and seeking compensation for moral damages. The court declared the information presented by V. Lutyev about the Deputy incorrect and bound the editorial board to refute the information on the front page of the newspaper (which has a circulation of 20 thousand) and in the same font and size. The court also awarded damages to the claimant of 300 thousand UH (about 56 thousand USD) from V. Lutyev and 10 thousand UH from the editorial board of the newspaper.

On 23 June 2004, the Appeal Court in Kyiv accepted the appeals of the newspaper «Holos Ukrainy» and journalist, Serhiy Lavrenyuk. The court reversed the decision of the Darnitsky District Court of 27 June 2003, concerning the defence of honour, dignity and business reputation, and withdrawal of false information, and refused to accept the original claims in full from the closed joint-stock company «TNK-Ukraina-Invest», the joint-stock company «Lisichanskyaftoorgsyntez», and O.G. Kredentser. The Ruling of the Darnitsky court had awarded damages to «TNK-Ukrainia-Invest» from «Holos Ukrainy» and journalist Serhiy Lavrenyuk of 238,500 UH

Previously, on 22 April 2004, the Court Chamber for Civil Proceedings of the Supreme Court of Ukraine had accepted the appeals from «Holos Ukrainy» and Serhiy Lavrenyuk, had annulled the decision of the Appeal Court in Kyiv of 17 September 2003 and had sent their claim to the Appeal Court for review. The Resolution of the Supreme Court states that «by annulling the decision of a first instance court and imposing a new ruling, the appeal court was guilty of serious infringements of procedural law» (the claim was considered in the absence of the defendant). Moreover, «by using norms to established circumstances, errors were made by the court in the interpretation of Article 7 of the Civil Code of Ukraine». In violation of the demands of Paragraph 7 of Part 1, Article 203, and Article 203 of the Civil Procedure Code of Ukraine, the court did not identify the extent to which the decision applied to each of the plaintiffs and, in contravention of the content of the law, had obliged the editorial board to publish information that, in the opinion of the claimants, was true.

In this way, on 23 June, the Appeal Court effectively established that the information in the articles by S. Lavrenuk «Special Operation «Readjustment», «Special Operation «Readjustment» – 2» and «Why pay more» was true.[16]

On 17 September, the Leninsky District Court in Vinnytsa passed a decision to temporarily suspend the publication of the newspaper «Vinnytska gazeta» for violations of the Law on the Presidential elections. The court took this decision after reviewing the complaint of Viktor Petrov, authorized representative of Petro Simonenko. Petrov complained that assessments and commentary about the platform of a Presidential candidate had been provided by the newspaper, this being forbidden by law for municipal and State means of the mass media. The court closed the newspaper until 21 November – the end of the election campaign.[17]

On November 28, police officers in the Luhansk region detained a car carrying the print run of the newspaper «Tviy Vybir» [«Your choice»], supposedly for containing calls to overthrow the constitutional system. These calls had allegedly been placed in human rights material, in particular, in an academic article on the right of a nation to uprising which is set out in some Constitutions of other democratic countries. In the course of the detention, regulations of many Ukrainian laws were violated, and action taken in excess of their authority by the law enforcement officers. The print run was shortly released, yet nobody was ever punished.

On 19 May, the Supreme Court of Ukraine reversed the verdict of the Sosnivsky District Court in Cherkasy and the resolution of the Appeal Court of the Cherkasy region, finding the Chief Editor of the newspaper «Svoboda», Oleh Lyashko, guilty of resisting police officers. The case was sent back for a new review. In April 2002, following the seizure of two print runs of the Svoboda newspaper, which resulted in the criminal case which is now referred to, Oleh Lyashko had been imprisoned for 10 days. The seized issues had contained the text of an appeal for information made to State Deputy, Hryhory Omelchenko, about some aspects of the activity of the former General Prosecutor of Ukraine, Mikhailo Potebenko. On 5 February 2003, a judge of the Sosnivsky District Court, Anna Chehot, had found Oleh Lyashko guilty of a crime of medium gravity and ordered him to pay a fine of 255 UH[18]

Last year, the Russian Centre of Extreme Journalism recorded 5 cases of detention or arrest of journalists:

1. Zaporizhzhye region, February 27: Andriy Tokovenko, Dmytro Kapustin[19]

2. Zaporizhzhye region, March 18: Artem Tymchenko[20]

3. Kyiv. April 28. Volodymyr Boyko[21]

4. Transcarpathian region. May 22: Kostyantyn Sydorenko[22]

5. Lviv. May 28. Irena Tershak[23]

5. Recommendations

1) To implement a program for reforming State media outlets by changing their system of management and financing in accordance with the recommendations of the Council of Europe and OSCE. The best example of such reform is the introduction of public TV and radio broadcasting on the basis of UT-1 National Television Channel and the First National Radio Channel.

2) To reform the institute for state regulation of television and radio broadcasting – the National Television and Broadcasting Council of Ukraine – in accordance with the Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe No. 23 (2000), 1 (1999), Directive No. 95/47/ЄС of the European Parliament and Council, dated October 24, 1995. The independence of the state authority regulating television and radio broadcasting must be ensured both through legislation and in practice. The National Television and Broadcasting Council of Ukraine should obtain sufficient financing to ensure its independence and the proper fulfilment of its functions.

3) To repeal the laws „On the procedure for mass media coverage of the activity of State executive bodies and bodies of local social government» and „On State support of means of the mass media and social protection of journalists»; including the cancellation of individual privileges for journalists of State mass media.

4) To adopt a new version of the law on television and radio broadcasting which would comply with the standards of the Council of Europe, OSCE and the European Union.

5. To introduce amendments to legislas fill the police ranks (35%).

The main measures how to prevent unlawful physical and psychic coercion, according to the public, should include:

– severely punishing police officers for any incidents of unjustifiable coercion, brutality, torture (52%);

– improving staff recruitment to the police (50%);

– improving training of police staff at the respective educational institutions (40%).

However, only a small number of respondents feel optimistic that unlawful coercion could be eradicated from police practice within the next three years.

Among the main flaws, which are pertinent to the personality of a police officer, all those polled listed:

– use of official position for personal material gain (49%);

– unwillingness to help «ordinary people» (39%);

– low educational level (39%);

– brutality, callousness (33%).

The main flaws, pertinent to the personality of a police officer, are perceived in a more or less similar way by the public as a whole and by victims of unlawful coercion, although among the latter there is a higher percentage of those, who refer to use of official position for personal material gain, brutality, callousness, and an unhealthy inclination to aggression and humiliation of other people.

Among the main flaws, which are pertinent to the police as a state institution, all those polled listed:

– corruption, extortion of bribes from citizens (50%);

– arbitrariness, exceeding of power and authority (38%)

– cover-ups, protection of police officers, who breach the law (35%);

– poor control over police work on the part of higher authorities (30%).

Respondents, who suffered from unlawful coercion, mentioned the following flaws:

– corruption, extortion of bribes from citizens (61%);

– cover-up, protection of police officers, who breach the law (49%);

– arbitrariness, exceeding of power and authority (42%)

– use of physical and psychological coercion as admissible practices (38%);

– internal corruption, paying to be appointed to a particular position (35%).

As to the main flaws in the work of the police, according to the poll, public opinion put the use of physical and psychological coercion as admissible practices in eighth and ninth place as to importance. Even such flaws as red tape and bureaucracy were seen by the public as a greater evil than unlawful coercion. For victims of unlawful coercion, those practices rise to fourth place of importance.

Perception of the widespread use of unlawful coercion in the police work greatly undermines public trust in the police, in the State on the whole, in the President, etc. To a slightly less extent, this perception influences public willingness to help the police.

Among those, who believe that unlawful coercion is widespread in the work of the police:

– 54% do not trust the police;

– 49% do not trust the Ukrainian state at all.

Among those, who do not consider it to be widespread:

– 15% do not trust the police;

– 22% do not trust the State.

According to contributors to the research, the practice of unlawful coercion in the police work is widespread: 7% of those polled, have experienced it themselves, and within the immediate circle of every tenth respondent, there is, at least, one person, who has suffered from coercion. Public opinion adequately reflects the picture of the wide use of this practice. Half of those surveyed believe that unlawful coercion in the police work is inadmissible, the other half believe the use of unlawful coercion to be justified in some cases, but in no circumstance are they seen as serving to improve police work. Those surveyed also do not accept unlawful coercion as a temporary measure to fight crime. However, unlawful coercion is not seen by the public as one of the main flaws of police work.

2. Analysis of causes of the widespread use of torture

2.1. Use of confessions in the course of legal proceedings

Ukraine’s Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Code prohibit the use of confessions obtained «by breaching legislation on criminal procedure». This provision has been repeated many times in resolutions of the Plenary Assembly of the Supreme Court of Ukraine (PSCU). However, in the practice of a criminal investigation, the use of confessions, which are unlikely to have been given without duress, is quite widespread.

This can be partly explained by the fact that, aside from the above-mentioned general provision concerning the inadmissibility of evidence obtained in breach of the law, there are no special rules or criteria as to the determination of that admissibility, in particular, whether the confession was made voluntarily. The rather weak development of the law on evidence has its historical explanation.

For a very long time, assessment of evidence was based upon the virtually unlimited personal conviction of a judge, which was, in turn, based on a «socialist sense of justice». In the doctrine of criminal procedure, the development of a theory of evidence was restrained by the spectre of a restoration of the «system of formal evidence». As a result, the tetion making it possible to identify the real owner of a media outlet, especially of television channels and radio stations; to introduce effective control over the concentration of media outlets in the hands of one owner or members of his or her family; to introduce anti-monopoly restrictions for the information market in compliance with recommendations of the Council of Europe, OSCE and the European Union; to introduce necessary procedure for punishing those who infringe legislation on the concentration of the media.

6) To ensure quick and transparent investigation into all reports of violence and murder of journalists and to guarantee that journalists can exercise their rights.

7. To bind mass media owners to make their editorial policy public and to promptly inform of any changes in the editorial policy; to establish legal liability for not making public their editorial policy, making it public with a delay or giving untruthful information about their editorial policy.

8. To introduce a State program of support for local printed mass media of national and language minorities in places with large communities of the relevant groups.

9. To accelerate the procedure for ratifying the European Convention on trans-border television, the Additional protocol to the Convention on trans-border television, and to also introduce amendments to legislation on the implementation of its regulations, as well as the provisions of the EU Directive 85/552/ЕU, 97/36/ЕU „Television without Borders».

10. To disband the National Committee for Television and B

roadcasting during the consideration of Draft amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine.

[1] When (perhaps whether) the Orange Revolution ended (on 8 December when the crowds agreed to leave Independence Square, after the Supreme Court had annulled the election result, or 26 December when V. Yushchenko won the re-vote) is a matter of opinion, but it began after the second round of elections on 21 November. (translator’s note)

[2] The 2004 report on the results of monitoring violations of the rights of journalists and mass media. The Kyiv Independent Media Trade Union. Internet site:

[3] From the Ukrainian for ‘theme’ or ‘topic’ (and the adjective for ‘dark’) (translator’s note)

[4] Based on information from the website of „Ukrayinska Pravda»:

[5] For more information about this law, see the section about the access to information and the Bulletin of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group „Freedom of Expression and Privacy», No. 2, 2004,

[6] More information can be found in the Internet publication of «Telekritika»:

[7] The Internet site of Channel 5:

[8] For more information, see the Internet publication «Telekritika»:

[9] For more information, see Hromadske radio (Civic radio):

[10] For more information, see the Internet publication «Telekritika»:

[11] Ukrayinska Pravda Internet edition with reference to the source at the channel

[12] See the Internet website of „1+1» Channel:

[13] Newspaper «Dzerkalo tyzhnia»,

[14] „Telekritika« Internet website:

[15] More information can be found on the Internet website:

[16] cf, the Internet website of „Telekritika«:

[17] cf. the Internet publication «Ukrayinska Pravda»:

[18] According to the Mass Information Institute. AttheInternetsite:

[19] For more information, see the Centre’s Internet site:





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