Myroslava Gongadze: The Day that changed Ukraine
13 years ago, September 16, the day that changed our family’s life, and ultimately that of Ukraine fell on a Saturday.
And it was on a Monday, like today, that for the first time we held a press conference at which we reported that Georgy had vanished and asked for journalists’ solidarity in looking for him. I’d like to thank all of those who responded then and who understood that Gia’s(Georgy’s) disappearance was not only our family’s tragedy. Thanks to you the murder of a fellow journalist became a tragedy of the entire journalist community and of society as a whole.
The years passed and we didn’t find Georgy alive, we only uncovered his remains.
However his murder was not forgotten and did not go unpunished as those of many journalists and politicians before him.
Thanks to our joint efforts we achieved partial justice. Yet while those who carried out the crime are serving sentences, the root of the tragedy – those who ordered it - remain immune and enjoy freedom.
For this reason all of us today must demand a full investigation of the killing of George and other journalists who perished at the hands of those in power before him and, unfortunately, after him. We must not be silent because you can’t defend yourself through silence. Since each of us could have been in Georgy’s place and unfortunately in today’s Ukraine could still be.
There are new challenges facing us today. The beatings and assaults on journalists in Ukraine are continuing. In 2012 Ukraine only just managed to hold its rating of partially free with respect to freedom of speech.
If these trends continue, in 2013 Ukraine could be classified not-free. Unfortunately, there is only one way of fighting the regime’s lawlessness, and that is our professionalism and our solidarity. Those who publish commissioned material, who liken television and radio broadcasting to the gutter press should realize that they are creating a society mixed with lies and filth. Sooner or later that bog will suck them in.
Those endeavouring to be bearers of truth, to uphold the honour of their profession and counter lawlessness must unite. Only by defending, supporting and inspiring one another can we force those in power to respect us.
Therefore, like 13 years ago, on this day I want to call for solidarity, for you to support one another. And I’d like once again to thank those who have turned their faces to the truth and are trying in conditions which are not easy to remain honest to the public, to themselves and to uphold the honour of their profession.