Who influences Kherson mass media?
The owners of mass media are journalists, communists, and entrepreneurs
TV channels’ owners
The majority of Kherson TV channels complied with the standard of law regarding media ownership transparency, so the information about their structure is available on their own websites.
The owner of the TV channel “VTV+” (LLC “TV and Radio Company “VTV plus”) is Tetiana Kamenska. She is a known journalist in Kherson; she is also a member of the All-Ukrainian Association of TV and Radio Broadcasters. She hosts some of the channel's shows, too.
The situation with the channel “Tviy Plius” (Your Plus) (LLC “Media group Positive”) is similar: it is wholly owned by the merited journalist Larysa Kravchenko, who is also its director general.
The TV channel “YaTV”’s list of its owners available officially coincides with the list in its entry in the state register of legal entities: Svitlana Karryyeva (34%), Ihor Krayevoy, and Oleksiy Ivnytskyi (33% each). Their names are not mentioned in ownership structures of other companies, and we found no affiliation between them and any well-known politicians.
The TV channel “Kratu” failed to publish its ownership structure or other data about itself as a legal entity on its website. So. from the register of broadcasters on the website of the National Council we learned that the channel's broadcasting license was issued to the LLC “Real-Media”. The final beneficiaries are Viacheslav Zakharovych Horlovskyi and Nina Borysivna Horlovska, and the enterprise’ top manager is Oleksander Oleksiyovych Horshenin.
The editorial office provided the channel’s ownership structure at IMI's request. According to it, Viacheslav Horlovskyi has a share of 32.43%, and the rest – 67.57% – is owned by LLC “Moto-Kontinent”. According to the data from the state register, the substantial share of the latter is owned by Nina and Viacheslav Horlovskyi.
Here we can trace the connection with the machine-building business. Nina and Viacheslav Horlovskyi are the final beneficiaries of the industrial and commercial combine “Concern “Elektromash” run by Zakhar Horlovskyi. Also, Oleksandr Horshenin is the head of the board of the CJSC “Machine building plant “Ametyst”.
Viacheslav Horlovskyi was running for Parliament in 2014 from Serhiy Tihipko’s party “Sylna Ukraina”, yet this party failed to make it to the Parliament. According to the posipaky.info database, in 2002-2007 (4th and 5th Parliament) Viacheslav Horlovskyi was a volunteer assistant to the MP from the Communist Party of Ukraine Ihor Alekseyev, and in the 5th and 6th Parliaments, the man with the same name is registered as a volunteer assistant to Viacheslav Kyrylenko (“Nasha Ukraina”, “Batkivshchyna”).
The channel “Kherson+”, according to the information published on its website, is partially owned (51%) by Ivan Dmytrovych Shalamay. As IMI was informed, Ivan Shalamay recently died and it is currently unknown who will inherit his share. Also, Volodymyr Vasyliovych Kosiuk and Andriy Viacheslavovych Cheredniuk each own 24.5% of the channel. According to the data of the register of legal entities, one of the channel’s founders is Kateryna Samoylyk, an ex-MP from the Communist Party of Ukraine and currently a representative of the Union of Left Forces in Kherson. It is commonly known that the party leader is the notorious Vasyl Volha.
Both Ivan Shalamay and Kateryna Samoilyk were nominated by "Union of Left Forces" to run at local elections of 2015 to various tiers of self-government councils in Khersonska oblast. Yet, neither of them received any mandates.
Kateryna Samoilyk, along with the family of her fellow party member Serhiy Osolodkin, is the founder of the radio station “AKS”. According to the register of legal entities, the TV and Radio Company “AKS” was founded by LLC “Firma “Studiya-A” and Kateryna Samoilyk. Hanna Osolodkina is listed as the top executive. “LLC “Firma “Studiya-А”, further, was founded by Hanna and Serhiy Osolodkin and Ivan Butenko.
In September of 2016, the National Council issued a warning to the radio station “AKS” after the inspection following an address from the Mejlis representative Ibragim Suleimanov: “…As on April 25, 2016, there was a broadcast of the program «Open Microphone», in which some statements by the anchor included information that can be used to instigate interethnic hostility, taking into account the pending war of propaganda”.
State-owned and communal media outlets
One more local radio in Khersonska oblast – “Tavriya” – is a branch of the National Public Television of Ukraine, just like the oblast TV channel “Skifiya”. Correspondingly, both broadcasters are property of the state.
In the oblast, one communal newspaper is published – “Naddniprianska pravda”. Presently, it is in transition from the state ownership to the community ownership. Correspondingly, in the register of legal entities, the public enterprise “Editorial office of newspaper “Naddniprianska Pravda” is listed as "terminated". As of now, Khersonska oblast council and the 14 members of the staff are indicated as its founders, and the top official (liquidator) is the media outlet’s editor-in-chief Ihor Reva. Khersonska oblast council approved its withdrawal from its founders on August 12, 2016.
The newspaper with the largest number of copies in the region is “Hryvna”. Also, this edition has the Saturday issue “Hryvna SV”. The newspaper’s founder is its editorial office as a legal entity. The final beneficiary of the private company "Editorial office of newspaper "Hryvna" is Hanna Pastukh. As the regional IMI representative informed, the newspaper’s publisher is the Private Enterprise “Kompromis Media”, owned by Natalia and Mykhailo Novytskyi. The couple also owns CJSC “Kherson city printing works”.
In the register of printed media outlets, there are two records on registration of the newspaper “Vhoru”, yet the website of its editorial office indicates that the newspaper was founded by Kherson city association of journalists “Pivden” and Khersonska Oblast Mercy and Health Foundation to develop the civil society in Khersonska oblast. The top executive and co-founder of the Foundation is the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, human rights advocate Alla Tiutiunnyk. She is also the founder of the Journalists’ Association “Pivden”, along with her husband Leonid Bondarchuk and Olena Afanasyeva.
The publisher and founder of the newspaper “Novyi Den” is LLC “Editorial office of newspaper “Novyi Den”. Its ultimate owner is Anatoliy Zhupyna – the newspaper’s editor-in-chief. This information was confirmed by the editorial office on IMI's request.
It is known from open sources that Anatoliy Zhupyna was a member of Khersonska oblast council (1998-2002), and since 2006 he is the head of the standing commission of the oblast council for the issues of publicity and relations with media outlets, parties, and NGOs. At the local elections, he again was running for the council from the party “Vidrodzhennia”, yet lost.
Online media outlets
On IMI’s request, four websites of Kherson – “Khersontsi”, “Most”, “Website of Kherson city 0552” and “Samizdat” – revealed their owners voluntarily.
The Information Agency “Khersontsi” (khersonci.com.ua) was founded by the similarly-named NGO. This NGO's leader is Aliona Rotova. In 2015, she was running for Kherson oblast and city councils from the party “Nash Krai”. Yet, this media outlet is said to be mostly associated with its editor-in-chief Volodymyr Mostovyi. As the regional IMI representative mentions, Mosotvyi was the advisor to the Chairman of Khersonska oblast council Volodymyr Demiokhin (2006-2010, “Party of Regions”).
The media outlet “Most” (most.ks.ua) was founded by journalists Serhiy Nikitenko and Kateryna Handziuk, who are also its owners. Currently, Handziuk is the executive secretary of the executive committee of Kherson city council.
The website of Kherson city 0552 (0552.ua) is owned by the all-Ukrainian network CitySites, which is administrated by Yevhen Yavtushenko, and owned by an entrepreneur from Mariupol, Fedir Zhukov. On IMI’s request, Kherson editorial office clarified that the project’s regional administrator is Iryna Salikhova, and its editor-in-chief is Olha Samoylenko.
The website “Samizdat” (samizdat.ks.ua) was founded by the Public Association “Association of Political and Investigative Journalism”. The founders of this NGO are Iryna Domashchenko and Artem Sopov. This data was taken both from open registers and from the reply of the editorial office to IMI’s request.
Mykolayiv center of journalist investigations claims that the owner of the website “Kherson Online” (khersonline.net) is Svetozar Dorofeyev. The media outlet itself, however, lists Dorofeyev as its editor-in-chief.
The website “Khersonski visti” (visti.ks.ua) is an officially registered printed media outlet. As its founder, NGO "Editorial office of online media outlet "Khersonski Visti” is listed. Ihor Trubayev is listed as its founder and final beneficiary. In the open registers, he is listed as the co-founder and sole owner of LLC “New Digital media” (advertising agency) and the top executive of the LLC “Yuzhnoukrainskiy Media Holding” (news agency). In addition, he is listed as the head of NGO “Union of Communist Youth of Kherson”. Since October 30, 2016, the organization has been winding down.
“Before, it was believed the website visti.ks.ua was funded by the member of the 6th city council, the head of the Land commission, Tetiana Varushchyk. The media outlet’s editorial office and press center for a long time were located in the office of the plant owned by the kommandit partnership «Private enterprise «OJSC Company Dnipro and company». The ultimate owners of this enterprise are Andriy and Tetiana Varushchyk. After the local elections, there was information that the website was bought by the member of the oblast ̈council, head of the oblast organization of the party «Nash Kray», Vitaliy Buliuk. It was through him that one of the councilmembers whom we interviewed negotiated removing from this website the materials disadvantageous for him”, regional IMI representative Serhiy Nikitenko noted in his article.
The website “Pivdenna Informatsiyna Kompaniya” (pik.ua) is officially owned by Dmytro Yemelyanov. The journalists of Kherson say that this website serves interests of the businessman and ex-MP from “UDAR”, Andriy Putilov. The Putilovs family owns LLC “Mechanichnyi zavod”, where Dmytro Yemelyanov holds the position of the Vice Director General.
The website “Kherson.Net” (kherson.net.ua) is said to pursue interests of its editor-in-chief, Yevheniya Popenko. In 2015, she was running for the local self-government council from the party “Socialists”. In the register of court decisions, the following information can be found: “After studying the materials of the case, the court established that on Sep 01, 2015, between LLC “Flink Ukraine” (the Contractor) and LLC “DMS-Ukraine” (the Customer), a Contract was entered into on providing advertising services, according to the conditions of which, LLC “Flink-Ukraine” is the owner of the website http://kherson.net.ua” (Dniprovskyi district court of Kherson city, the ruling as of February 24, 2016, in the case related to protection of honor, dignity, and business reputation; the register does not have the judgement on this case).
“Flink-Ukraine” (kherson.net.ua) is a motor transport company, whose final owner is Stanislav Samborskyi. He is also listed as the founder and owner of LLC “Khersongidromash”.
The website “Khersonshchyna za den” (ksza.ks.ua) was founded by a journalist and editor Tetiana Derhachova. As the regional IMI representative established, “the website receives money from the budget for covering the activities of Kherson oblast state administration. The person that signs its contracts is a private entrepreneur T.A. Derhachova”.
The website “Tavriya 24” is said to be affiliated with an activist and journalist Rostyslav Suprunov. News based on his entries in Facebook often appear on this website. Suprunov is the advisor to the head of Khersonska oblast state administration.
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).