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Elections in Ukraine: Number of Violations of Journalists' Rights Has Grown up to 10 Times and Political Hidden Advertizing up to 37 Times

10.10.2012, 07:17
The closer to elections, the bigger is the number of violations of journalists' rights in Ukraine. This year in January there were 6 cases of violations, but is September it has reached 60. These are only the cases, when journalists ask for help and, at least, make it open to public. The majority of these incidents were directly associated with elections and/or done by political parties or parliamentary deputies.


At the time, when every candidate and party should race to have journalists' commitment, on the contrary, there is a growing number of cases, when journalists are punched into face. If parliamentary candidate organizes a meeting with the electorate or press conference and, at the same time, he didn't allow not-wanted journalists to be present there, then he may be asked mane questions. The journalists aren't allowed to attend the meetings, but what is more, they offend and intimidate them, some time assault for the attempts to record public actions of the person, who wants to become a parliamentary deputy and decide the future of the country.

Thus, in Lviv, journalists were demanded to show their passports in  order to get to the press conference of Victor Yushchenko, a leader of Nasha Ukraina. In Lutsk, only necessary journalists were allowed to visit his press conference.  A rep of Nasha Ukraina explained: It is a pre election campaign and we ourselves will decide what journalists we want to see or not.

Kateryna Samoilyk, a rep of the Communist Party and, at the moment, a deputy and a candidate, prohibited recording her  at the meeting with the electorate and claimed that to record her, one should have special permission. She also called Tetiana Zhuchenko, a journalist who tried to make records of her, a chicken shit of the Party of Regions.

In Odesa region, an assistant of a deputy punched Yuriy Rebryk,a journalist, in TV studio PravdaPRO for recording Vitalii Barvinenko, a deputy, at the concert devoted to 200th anniversary of the village. The rep of the Party of Regions used this concert in his pre-election campaign, but instead of the candidate's leaflet, a journalist received a slap from his assistant.

In Lugansk region, Valerii Moshenskii, a parliamentary candidate and a deputy of Kyiv Council, a leader of the Fraction Block Lytvyna, himself injured Ivan Zheved, a journalist of the Internet publication Molod-news and an activist of the Chesno Movement. Zheved was recording the meeting of Valerii Moshenskii with the electorate. When the journalist came to the candidate and started recording  him, Moshenskii tried to knock the camera out. The journalist wanted to clear out the situation, but Moshenskii punched the journalist in the groin.

In most case, there are obstructions to professional activities of journalists and they are also attacked and intimidated.









At the same time, a number of hidden political advertizing in Media has been growing. МІ. Monitoring data of the national publications by IMI shows the facts of mass purchase of newspapers headlines before the elections.  
Since January we have been observing a constant growth of hidden political advertizing (Jeansa) and in September it has reached its upper point: the number of articles with the features of Jeansa has grown up to 37 (!!!) times in comparison with the beginning of the year (6 national publication have been monitored: Correspondent, Komsomolskaya Pravda v Ukraine, Segodnya, Facty, Commentari and Ukrainskyi Tyzhden).










For example, in the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda v Ukraine in September every fifth article had features of being ordered. It even published a special issue, full of Jeansa of Korolevska, which was handed for free in the streets. Certainly, as it always happens to the ads of this type, it didn't have any appropriate labeling provided by the Law.















At the same time, the Media, pretending to be independent, try to give two-sided information and even dare to criticize the Government, but attempt to close channels of access to the public. Everybody knows about mass stopping broadcasting of Tvi channel by the cable providers and it is not the only case.

Court decided to stop issueing of the newspaper Osobystyi Pohliad in Irpin. Thus, the Court fully satisfied the claim of Dmytro Voitseh, a a deputy of Irpin City Council and a candidate at the constituency №95. The deputy didn't like the article about Dmytro Voitseh's leaflets, spread by strangers in Irpin, where he was depicted in the Nazi uniform with the text below saying that Voitseh betrayed the Party of Regions. Journalists assumed that the deputy himself could have ordered this political technology and if it was true, they compared him to Pavlik Morozov, a betrayer.

In Kharkiv region, the newspaper Zmiivskyi Courier is under the threat of being closed.  Ievgen Muraiev, a Head of Smiivsk District Administration and a member of the Party of Regions, appealed to the Court and there was a decision about violation of the Law on Elections of the Parliamentary Deputies by the newspaper. The candidate didn't like not labeled political advertizing of his rival. The fact, that in was advertizing, is justified by the agreement between publication and Fedir Venislavskii, a candidate at the constituency №181. The newspaper has already lost two Muraiev's claims and an appeal. Oleksandr Sumets, an editor, predicts that the newspaper can loose the license of registration up to the end of elections. The fact that there was no sign advertisement near the article is a violation. But, for some reasons, the newspaper Segodnia inappropriately labels its advertisements, placing it under the headlines Company News, Hot Line, Officially etc. and nobody fines it. The same can be applied to Komsomolka, Facty and many other local publications that don't separate advertizing and journalist materials.

There is also pressure on the newspaper Glavnoe in Kharkiv. The newspaper is associated with Arsen Avakov, a member of Batkivshchyna Party, and is considered to be one of the last oppositional Media in Kharkiv. Kharkiv region with Mykhailo Dobkin, a Governor, is famous for the pressure on Media. It started in August-September 2011, when the oppositional TV channels ATN, Fora and Pravo-A/TVC were blocked. The leaders of the companies see the reason of these actions in pressure on not controlled Media. An operator of the cable TV Triolan,  controlled by Gennadiy Kernes, a Mayor and a member of the Party of Regions, switched off the channel Simon, who was transmitting Tvi.

Only one month is left before the elections. The closer October, 28, is, the more obstructions to the journalists in doing their professional activities (to inform about violations of  human rights and freedom) are caused. Instead of openness and transparency from the parliamentary candidates, Media reps receive treats and bruises. We can only hope that these offenders will be punished by the voter on the day of elections.  


Iryna Chulivska, ІМІ

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