Editor of Gazeta po-kievski dismissed
Glavred-Media have officially confirmed the appointment of Oleksy Hazubei Chief Editor of Gazeta po-kievski. On 11 April a general meeting of the limited liability company Press Centre Publishing House dismissed Serhiy Tykhy from his position as General Director of the company and Chief Editor of Gazeta po-kievski. He was dismissed “in connection with unsatisfactory figures for the work of the Company”.
Members of the Press Centre Publishing House said that from its founding, the Company had been loss-making.
Telekritika reports that this is the first case in the recent history of Ukraine’s press that a manager was dismissed with this wording. Serhiy Tykhy says that he categorically rejects this assessment of his work. “I worked in this job for 8.5 years and during that time the project went from zero to the NRS ratings which it has, stably in the first three. Since the beginning of the conflict, the owner’s representatives have tried to make this a purely economic issue. I have already stated on many occasions with arguments that cannot be refuted that there is no whiff of economics in the situation. What do you call a public statement that Gazeta po-kievski will not be issued while Serhiy Tykhy is the Editor? And with regard to financial results, the media group of the Press Centre Publishing House which Gazeta po-kievski belongs to, and which, I would stress, has no relation to the Glavred Holding, in post-crisis 2010, it had one of the best results on the Ukrainian market for daily newspapers. This will convince any unbiased expert”.
While preferring not to comment on Mr Hazubei’s appointment and saying he wishes him well in his personal life and strong nerves, Serhiy Tykhy says that after a month during which the newspaper was blocked, he does not see it having a future. “At least not the Gazeta po-kievski the way it was over all those years when hundreds of thousands of Kyiv residents came to like it”.
Asked if he planned to appeal against his dismissal, Mr Tykhy said that from a legal point of view there had been no infringements.
The newspaper Gazeta po-kievski has been published since January 2003 and from May 2004 was a daily, published by the Press Centre Publishing House. In 2006 it launched the Internet portal Gazeta po-kievski, and started regional versions of the newspaper in Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Odessa, Donetsk and Lviv.
On 11 March 2011 it suspended issue.
Concern over the case has been expressed by human rights organizations in Ukraine, as well as international media watchdogs. On 17 March the European Federation of Journalists, EFJ, “backed protests by journalists working for media controlled by the ‘Privat’ media group against political interference and a two month delay on salary payments. Journalists at the Gazeta po-kievski newspaper, a subsidiary of Privat, claim that the newspaper’s accounts have been blocked following the publication of critical articles on President Yanukovych”.
On 29 March the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and Kharkiv Human Rights Group addressed an open letter “On the Measures against Gazeta po-kievski”. This stated that:
“Attempts are made to explain this as due to economic reasons. Yet the conflict over Gazeta po-kievski has no commercial basis. You do not destroy a publication which is one of the leaders on the printed press market, you don’t create the conditions for a collapse in its rating, loss of readers and advisers, or, in other words, you don’t destroy your own property.
This is also something more than conflict as an attempt to introduce political censorship. It is a conflict of values, conflict regarding the fundamental human right to ones profession, to personal dignity, human honour and the wish to crush this dignity, put people in their place, shut their mouths. The practice is being brought in of collective punishments, reprimands, depriving people of their pay. They are trying to instill the germ of hysterical fear before the master who is free to punish or spare his subjects. This is conflict where one of the parties is replacing responsibility with a lack of any limits, reinstating feudal practice and causing foul offence to people.
Not putting a stop to this greed and hypocrisy would mean placing the country beyond the limits of civilized European society. According to international law a country has positive duties to ensure freedom of expression, freedom of the press and its protection. The media is a social achievement and the public have the right to demand that the authorities protect their right to freedom and diverse information. In the given case the State is silently observing the flagrant violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and other international agreements to which Ukraine is a signatory. The shameful attack on Gazeta po-kievski is open provocation against Ukraine’s European aspirations, against its preparation for heading the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
We call on the newspaper’s owner, Mr Kolomiysky, to stop the destruction of the newspaper. We ask the Verkhovna Rada to take measures at a legislative level to defend media freedom from such actions by the owner. Justice must be restored and the kind of practice which degrades and shames the country should not reoccur in future.” ()
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