TV STB journalists also allege systematic censorship
Journalists from the television channel STB programme “Vikna” [“Windows”] issued an open letter on Friday 7 May in which they express support for colleagues from 1 + 1 and speak of systematic censorship.
“We support our colleagues from TV Channel 1 + 1 and call on journalists from other publications to join in opposing the new censorship in Ukraine.
Journalists from “Vikna” began recording cases of censorship during the election camp. On 6 December 2009 at a meeting of the Mediafront Trade Union at STB they registered the following examples:
- In 2008 at the preparation stage, the Chief Editor O. Mustafin, without giving any explanation, removed a feature on the privatization of the State residence “Mizhirya” by the then leader of the opposition, Viktor Yanukovych.
- During 2009 the management of the channel prohibited coverage of the topic of high-ranking officials’ property in the Pushcha-Vodytsa and Koncha-Zaspa areas outside Kyiv.
- A feature was stopped about Yulia Tymoshenko’s birthday and showing of the notorious clip “Propalo vsyo” [more or less, “we’re done for” – Ms Tymoshenko did not realize she was being filmed – translator]
- Critical material about the activities of the Kyiv City State Administration and specifically the Mayor Chernovetsky was stopped.
- Only after pressure from the “Vikna” team was material broadcast about the plagiarism by the Yanukovych team of their pre-election song.
- A report was stopped on the fate of a kitten which “Vikna” gave President Yushchenko after he handed it to a veterinary clinic.
- In reports about rallies of the Party of the Regions, video footage was removed which proved that people were paid for taking part, nor were scenes showing drunk participants broadcast.
After the elections, the accent began to shift on reports linked with the activities of the new Minister of Education, Dmytro Tabachnyk, the UPA [Ukrainian Resistance Army] and Holodomor.
During the election campaign, “Vikna” journalists decided to obtain explanations regarding these cases from the channel’s management and not make them public in order to avoid their use by in the election battle of specific candidates. However we now feel it necessary to declare a systematic offensive against freedom of speech. For example, the new information concept strategy for “Vikna” envisages:
- talking about political topics in “one column” and avoiding detailed material;
- rejection of “traditional journalist investigations”;
- avoiding irony;
- no coverage of the property and expenditure of politicians.
The letter is signed by 17 presenters and journalists from the programme
„Telekrytyka” asked Oleksiy Mustafin for his response to the allegations. He told them () that the restructuring of “Vikna” was not linked with political pressure. He refused to comment on the specific allegations, saying that people could look at “Vikna”, what was there, what was not, and compare this with the claims.