Each oligarch gets a little something
Dividing TV channels
Dnipro is possibly the only city except Kyiv, where large known oligarchs each have their own local media outlets, and unlike in Donbas region, here all of them are presented in such a way.
“Channel 11” (state enterprise “TV and Radio Company “Sterkh”) through discreet trusts is owned by Olena and Victor Pinchuk, proprietors of StarLightMedia and the holding “Intertype”.
The final owners of “Channel 9” (“Pryvat TB Dnipro”) in equal measure are Ihor Kolomoyskyi and his business partner Hennadiy Boholiubov (each owns 50%).
“Channel 34” (CJSC “TSD”) is mostly (68%) owned by Rinat Akhmetov through the structures of the SKM holding, and the territorial community of the city of Dnipro owns the rest (32%).
This data is the same as the findings of the research IMI conducted in 2015 but thanks to the media ownership transparency law now it is much easier to find the exact data.
“Channel 51” together with the oblast radio constitutes Dnipropetrovsky directorate of CJSC “NSTU” (National Public TV and Radio Company) – the state-owned public broadcaster.
In Dnipro, there is only one essentially local radio station, “Radio Miks”. According to the register of legal entities, it has several final beneficiaries. Along with the radio station’s manager Dmytro Zapashchykov, the radio station’s owners are Dmytro Mishalov, Mykhailo Tulchynskyi, and Larysa Flaks. The latter three own shares in LLC “Mayster–Bud”.
Dmytro Mishalov is the father of Viacheslav Mishalov, a businessman (predominantly in the sphere of telecommunications) and the secretary of Dnipro city council elected from “Samopomich”. Earlier, Mishalov was believed to have links to the city website gorod.dp.ua. Now, this website officially belongs to Rinat Akhmetov’s holding “Segodnia”.
In Dnipro, “Samopomich” is believed to have links to the online media outlet “Zabeba” (zabeba.li). The media outlet has its own press center and makes no secret that its founder is Serhiy Shyshkin. He also ran for local council from “Samopomich”, as did the website’s editor Olha Paliy.
In the second half of the last year, the website “Informator” became noticeable – the media outlet updated its design and started bursting in social networks with its own coverages and reports from the locations of events. When this material was being prepared, it was known that the website editor was Yulia Severiyanova. Earlier, she cooperated with “Zabeba” as an author. This created an impression that these websites were connected, but there were no tangible grounds to state this for sure. After this materialwas published, the regional representative of IMI received a call from the “Zabeba” editor Olha Paliy, who informed that several months agoSeveriyanova stopped working as the website editor, and now the person in charge of this job is Daria Kalynovska. The website "Informator" itself still offers no information on who its editor is.
The newspaper “Dnipro Vechirniy” was founded by and is published by LLC “Legal Firm “Pravnyk”. This firm is owned by four persons, among which an ex-MP from the Yulia Tymoshenko’s Bloc Mykhailo Sokolov. He has not been a part of the political life in Dnipro and the region for a long time, but still, during the elections times his influence over coordination of issues of publishing of political ads is perceivable from time to time.
The listed founder of the newspaper “Gorozhanin” is LLC “Gamma Consulting”, which, in its turn, was created by the brothers Andriy and Kostiantyn Symonenkos – sons of the leader of the late Community Party of Ukraine Petro Symonenko.
The newspaper “Visti Prydniprovia”, once founded by Dnipropetrovksa oblast state administration, currently is listed as founded by LLC “Visti Prydniprovia”. Among the founders of the newspaper as a legal entity are its editor-in-chief Oleksiy Kovalchuk, as well as Oleksandr Pryhodko and Dmytro Vasenko. The latter two are the co-founders of LLC “ Dnipropetrovksa oblast union of journalists”.
The newspaper of the oblast council “Zoria” intended to move out of state ownership. But councilmembers and leadership of the oblast council decided they did not want to stop being its founders. When the conflict went public, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Kseina Zaytseva was suspended from her job, targeted by the internal investigation, and later dismissed. A well-known journalist and, until recently, a member of the Supervisory Board of “Zoria” Andriy Bohatyriov replaced her at the helm of the editorial office. The replacement was explained by the communal newspaper’s ineffective management and non-transparent operation, when the oblast was governed by representatives of the “Party of Regions”. Whatever the actual reasons were, the media outlet’s management was replaced, and the issue of change in the ownership pattern is no longer discussed. The media outlet is still under control of the oblast council, which is led by representatives of the Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc, Batkivshchyna, and the party “Vidrodzhennia” (which, just as the party “UKROP,” is believed to be Ihor Kolomoyskyi’s project).
The communal newspaper “NASHE MISTO”, founded by Dnipro city council, also underwent the change in leadership. The media outlet’s editor-in-chief was replaced without any scandals, as the newspaper played a minor role on the market. This took place in the end of 2015, just after the local elections. The new leadership consisted of editors and spin doctors, who ran the mayor’s electoral campaign – Tetiana Valihurska and Borys Brahinskyi. The media outlet became very visible on the market, its quality improved significantly, but it still mostly serves as a PR department for the city authorities.
To counterbalance the websites under control of the mayor’s team or loyal to him – “Dnipropetrovsla Panorama” (dnpr.com.ua) or “Dniprograd” (dniprograd.org), a new website “49000” (49000.com.ua) emerged recently.
This media outlet has taken a directly oppositional stance to Dnipro mayor Borys Filatov in its materials; due to this, it is believed the website appeared thanks to his once companion and now opponent Dmytro Pohrebov.
In their turn, “Dnipropetrovsla Panorama” and “Dniprograd” are perceived as connected to the local office of “UKROP”. Both editorial offices share the building with the party’s campaign headquarters.
Despite these obvious polar political affiliations in the media field, there are still some relatively impartial websites. The online media outlet “Biuro UA” founded by journalist Olha Yudina concentrates on investigative journalism and is funded by donors.
Top city portals also strive for neutrality. The website of the city of Dnipro 056 (056.ua) is a regional branch of the City Sites network. The website’s owner – Fedir Zhukov – has the domain 056.ua registered in his name.
The other popular portal “Vgorode” (dp.vgorode.ua) is owned by the all-Ukrainian holding UMH, believed to have links with Serhiy Kurchenko. But as long as this portal covers predominantly breaking news and entertainment, there is little political influence in its newsfeed.
Analysis was prepared by Zoya Krasovska, IMI, supported by the Ukrainian Confidence Building Initiative (UCBI), and funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).