Report on Violations of Journalists’ Rights in the Pre-election Campaign of 2012 (The first part of September, 2012)
In August IMI experts recorded only 39 cases of violations of journalists’ rights, while in the first part of September there are already 37 cases. The majority of these cases (22) is directly connected to the pre-election campaign and/or made by political parties or the parliamentary candidates.
In August the number of violations related to the elections was 41% from total, but in the first part of September the number has grown up to 59%.
During pre-election campaign very often journalists face violations of their professional rights and 10 cases are recorded. During the period the parliamentary candidates gave 7 claims to Media and journalists, there were 4 cases of pressure on Media and 2 cases of assaults and intimidation.
For example, in Lviv, journalists were indignant by demanding passport to enter the press-conference of Victor Yushchenko, the leader of Nasha Ukraina and ex-President of Ukraine. In Lutsk at the press- conference of Yushchenko the “not necessary” journalists were not allowed to enter. The rep of Nashsa Ukraina explained that It is pre-election campaign and we ourselves decide on the journalists we want or not to see at our press-conference.
In Donetsk region a parliamentary candidate from the Party of Regions at the single-mandate constituency №59 Oleksandr Vasiliev in a rough way prohibited journalists of Kapri Channel to record his meeting with the electorate. He said: Listen, take away this camera out of here! When I say, do it! Otherwise, I’ll throw it away! Do you hear me? Take away! There were no official explanations and communication of journalists with candidate’s guards was accompanied with threats to meet in Krasnoarmiysk, where there is the office of the channel – said Iryna Prylepska, an editor-in-chief of the Channel.
In Simferopol the crew of the State TV and Radio Channel was not allowed to go to the briefing of Vitaliy Klychko, a leader of the party Udar. The guards explained that the journalists were not accredited. The announcement was sent on August, 14, with the memo that accreditation is finished on August, 31.
A parliamentary candidate, a deputy from the Party of Regions, Denys Omelianovych threatened Donetsk Internet publication Novosti Donbasa with technical problems at their site. He didn’t like the news under the title Graft or Support of People? In Donetsk region the candidate presented school bus to one school.
Another candidate from the Party of Regions Oleksiy Leliuk appealed against edition Hazety po Ukrainsky in Poltava for the publication of the interview with Vitaliy Tokov, a rep of the Committee of Voters, where Tokov said that Leliuk seemed to give his voters sweets and flour from the State Reserves of Ukraine.
There are also cases when the communal Media don't put on air the ads of some political forces or parliamentary candidates. For example, State TV and Radio Company in Chrkasy refused to broadcast the advertisment of Svoboda.The ad was due on September, 17, on time given to Svoboda as a member of parliamentary elections. Yuriy Bontar, a Deputy Director of Svoboda in Cherkasy region, explained that they were intimidated by the words impitchment, remove from the authority etc. In reality, there is nothing illegal. In private conversation Larysa Efremova, General Manager ofState TV and Radio Company in Chrkasy - IMI, explained that the ad calls to the impitchment of the authority and constitutional revolution, but our authority is elected by people. Now the legal department of Svoboda prepares appeal to Court against the channel.
It is worth mentioning adoption in the first reading the Law № 11013 by the deputies of Verhovna Rada about changes to Criminal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine as to increasing responsibility for attacks on the honor and dignity of a person. According to these changes, the journalists and other citizens that spread information which might be considered by someone as attack on the honor and dignity of a person, can be punished, including the imprisonment from two to five years.
This Bill was condemned by journalist rights organizations and the Unions. Namely, Reporters Without Boarders called the Law a serious threat to all Ukrainian Media and journalists . National Union of the Journalists of Ukraine is preparing to mobilize the reps of Ukrainian Media to protest against this Law. They think that adoption of the Law will be a rough violation of the European Convention about Human Rights and a rough violation of freedom of speech.
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