Report on Typical Violations of Journalists’ Rights and Pre-election Campaign Regulations in August 2012
І. VIOLATIONS OF JOURNALISTS’ RIGHTS
With the upcoming elections an abrupt growth of journalists’ rights violations is recorded. These are monthly monitoring data published in Freedom of Speech Barometers by IMI.
In total, the number of violations in August increased by 6,5 times in comparison to January, 2012 and now it is 39 cases. 16 cases out of all are directly related to the pre-election campaign and/or made by political parties or parliamentary candidates.
There were more cases of appeals against Media (6), cases of obstruction to journalists’ professional activities and censorship (6), pressure on Media (3) and one case of illegal arrest of a journalist.
Thus, Court stopped publication of Osobystyi Pogliad newspaper in Irpin up to the end of the elections, and in such a way completely satisfied the claim of Dmytro Voitseh, a parliamentary candidate at single-mandate constituency №95 and a deputy of Irpin City Council, against the newspaper.
Court decided that information published in the article under the title Started! on August, 3, 2012, was slanderous and not true and action of edition were a rough violation of the Law About Elections of Parliamentary Deputies. In the article in Osobystyi Pogliad newspaper they said about leaflets with anti-propaganda on Dmytro Voitseh, spread in Irpin. They depicted the candidate in the Nazi uniform. Under the photo there was a text that Voitseh betrayed the Party of Regions. In the newspaper this article was published to illustrate the article that included thoughts about the person who could have ordered these leaflets and why he/she applied such dirty technologies.
One more newspaper Zmiyivskyi Courrier in Kharkiv region faces the threat of being closed. Zmiyivskyi District Court in Kharkiv region decided that the newspaper violated the Law About Elections. They said that the newspaper violated Part 7 art. 74 of the Law, which describes the election campaign regulations and usage of printed Media during the process. As the result, the registration certificate of the newspaper will be terminated during the election campaign.
Among the cases of censorship there is an incident that happened on August , 8, when a parliamentary deputy Kateryna Samoilyk (Communist Party) prohibited Tetiana Zhuchenko, a journalist from Kherson, to be present at the meeting with local people and make photoes and videos in the village Myrne in Kalanchatskyi District of Kherson region. Samoilyk said that she didn’t allow making videos of herself as she is an acting deputy and there should be a special permission.
With the beginning of the election campaign in Ukraine the journalists started to resign from Media because of censorship. Journalists cannot stand the pressure from the side of Media Management, which demands to give news about the authority and the Party of Regions only in a positive way.
Thus, because of censorship and lack of desire to serve to the Party of Regions on August, 9, Olha Hodovenko and Olha Komarova, the journalists, resigned from the TV channel MIG in Yuzhne town of Odesa region. The reason of such action they formulated as the reps of the owners (of the channel – ed.) recommended to serve to the interests of a certain political force.
More over, because of censorship Nataliia Sokolenko, a famous journalist, resigned from CTB channel. She explained that she couldn’t participate in cheating millions of people. She, herself, didn’t make any information about Korolevsksa, Yanukovych, Azarov, Klymenko and others. But she felt ashamed and that is why it was her personal desire to resign – she wrote in her blog.
On August, 28, 2012, there was a search in the office of the Internet publication Glavnoe, that belongs to Arsen Avakov, a deputy of Kharkiv Regional Council, Batkivshchyna Party, and a candidate. The office of Glavnoe is situated in Kharkiv in one building with Investor Ltd and Basis Bank, the owner of which is also Avakov. It worth mentioning that there was a criminal case against Avakov and he is in search. At the moment Avakov is in Italy.
IІ. POLITICAL HIDDEN ADVERTIZING (JEANSA)
In August the number of political jeansa in press has grown in more than 34 times in comparison to the beginning of 2012. Monitoring data of six National publications conducted by IMI are the following:
Monitoring showed that ordered materials for pre-election campaign are used by all political parties.
The most hidden adverts (jeansa) during the last three months there are about authority’s activities. In August, 32% of non-labeled advertising materials praised the work of the President and the Government. Thus, very often one can find publications with Mykola Azarov, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, a Head of the Party of Regions.
Majority electees also actively use not appropriately arranged political advertising in press. In the Ukrainian National publications the most hidden advertising is posted by those who are running in single-member constituencies of Kyiv:
- — Alla Shlapak (a candidate at constituency 221): We won’t solve the problem of school funding until they stop predatory extractions from Kyiv budget (Segodnia newspaper from August, 30, 2012); Nomination of majority electees is specific of Kyiv (Segodnia newspaper from August, 18, 2012)
— Ihor Lisov (a candidate at constituency 211): In Kyiv children will have rest and improve their health in ecologically clean Poltava region (Komsomolska Pravda v Ukraine from August, 6, 20112); Who will save Pyrohovo Komsomolska Pravda v Ukraine from August, 8, 20112)
- — Ruslan Solvar (a candidate at constituency 91): To win in “difficult” constituencies without songs and presents (Komsomolska Pravda v Ukraine from August, 15, 2012) etc.
11% of hidden ads are about the Communist Party, 10% - about Serhiy Tihipko, a Deputy Head of the Party if Regions, 9% — about Nataliia Korolevska, a leader of the Party Ukraina Vpered! and 7% - about United Opposition.
Among national publications the leader of hidden advertising (Jeansa) is again Komsomolska Pravda v Ukraine. The level of ordered not labeled materials in this newspaper reached 20%. The last month it was 11%. The publication seems not to have any political preferences and publishes information of all key members of the elections: Party of Regions, United Opposition, Communist Party, Udar, Ukraina Vpered, Ukrainska Pravytsia.
The same policies about hidden advertising are in the newspaper Facty, where in August the number of Jeansa 11%.
On the contrary, Segodnia is more selective in publication of ordered materials. The majority of political Jeansa in the newspaper is about authority, Serhiy Tihipko, a Vice Prime Minister, Communist Party and deputies who are running in single-member constituencies from Party of Regions.
In Korrespondent and Commentari there were also many materials devoted to the elections, but most of them were well balanced. In Ukrainskyi Tyzhden political materials are very often not balanced and one-sided, but they don’t have the features of being ordered.
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