Who influences Mykolayiv media outlets?
Abundance of political life
The media market of Mykolayiv is colorful and rather rich. The newsfeeds here are bursting with news, and the analysis of media ownership leaves an impression that every politician and their dog in the region thought it necessary to get themselves a cozy “media nest”.
In Mykolayiv, one of the most popular TV channels is the TV and Radio Company “NIS TV”. Its website, despite the requirement of the law, did not publish the data about its ownership structure. According to the state register of legal entities, the founders of the TV company are four persons: Yuri Mykolayovych Liubarov, Andriy Mykolayovych Hnoyevyi, Vitaliy Valeriyovych Mekheda, and Olena Oleksandrivna Zadyrko. Vitaliy Mekheda is also listed as the head of the TV channel, and Olena Zadyrko is listed as its ultimate beneficiary owner.
Olena Zadyrko is the wife of Hennadiy Zadyrko, the People’s Deputy from Yulia Tymoshenko’s Bloc in the 6th Parliament. She is also registered as an owner of four enterprises engaged in construction, hotel business, and telecommunications.
The TV channel “Saturn” in Mykolayiv is officially owned by Iryna Arkadiyivna Prokhorova – she is listed as the ultimate beneficiary. At the same time, little is known about this person. The head of the TV channel Andriy Nedo is way more visible. He is a former member of Mykolayiv city council from the Party of Regions. Local journalists link his business interests to the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, the president and member of the Board of “RUSAL”. The channel often broadcasts news stories covering the enterprise’ activities.
The TV channel “TAK TV” published its ownership structure on its website. The channel’s legal entity is LLC “College of Press and Television”. Its structure lists seven co-owners, of whom three are members of the Holovchenko family: wife Maryna, and brothers Hlib and Viacheslav. Based on our calculations, Hlib Holovchenko owns about 55% of the channel, and his brother – about 30%; the remaining 15% are shared by four participants, and each share of theirs is less than 10%.
State-owned and municipal media
Like in every oblast, in Mykolayivska oblast there operates a branch of the National Public TV and Radio Company: Mykolayiv Oblast TV and Radio Company and the radio station “Mykolayiv”. They are state-owned, and “Mykolayiv ” is the only operating local radio station.
The TV channel “Mart” was founded and is funded by Mykolayiv city council.
The newspaper “Vechirniy Mykolayiv” was also founded by Mykolayiv city council, and the newspaper’s publisher is the legal entity “Editorial office of the newspaper “Vechirniy Mykolayiv”. Despite the reform of communal media outlets, the city council is still listed as its founder in the register of media outlets.
The situation is similar with the newspaper “Ridne Prybuzhzhia”. Mykolayiv oblast council resigned from its founders in March of 2016. Now, the newspaper is owned by its editorial collective. The editor Tetiana Fabrykova in 2012 ran for local council from “Front Zmin”, and in 2015 — from the party “Nash Kray”.
The respective collectives are founders and publishers of the newspapers “Yuzhnaia Pravda” and “Rodnoy Prichal”. The latter’s labor collective is the board of Mykolayiv branch of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine chaired by Mykola Stetsenko.
The legal data of the newspapers “Nash Gorod Nikolayev” and “Nikolayevskie Novosti” concentrate more on the executives.
“Nash Gorod Nikolayev”, according to the state register of media outlets, was founded by the similarly-named LLC, whose ultimate beneficiary listed in the register of legal entities is Anatoliy Onofriychuk. He is also referred to as the owner and editor-in-chief of the online media outlet Novosti-N (novosti-n.org). In 2010, he ran for Mykolayiv city council on the list of the party “Tretia Syla”. But, as the website “Prestupnosti.Net” reported, in 2014 Onofriychuk resigned from a seat on the council, when by succession he had to replace the councilmember Serhiy Isakov, who prematurely withdrew from the council.
The newspaper “Nikolayevskie Novosti” has two founders: Anatoliy Bilonozhenko and Oleksandr Nastasenko. Anatoliy Bilonozhenko is the edition’s editor-in-chief.
Ragtag online media
The market of Mykolayiv’s online media is very saturated, and newsfeeds are normally quite extensive. That is, news journalists have a lot of work, yet not all owners of online media outlets can be identified with certainty. In general, the websites can be divided into three groups: those indirectly affiliated with politicians, media projects, and “anonymous”.
The websites “Prestupnosti.Net” (news.pn) and “NikLife” (niklife.com.ua) have the same owners. The founders are LLC “Informational Agency “Ukrainian Media Group” — this is indicated on the website. The news agency’s founders are Andriy Senchenko and Artem Dyblenko. This information about the media outlet was confirmed in their response to the IMI’s request.
The website “NikVesti” (nikvesti.com) was founded by the private enterprise “Investment and construction company “Altair”". According to the state register, the founder and final owner of the enterprise is Oleksandra Finkova. She is a rather well known person in Mykolaiv: open sources identify her as a member of the charitable foundation “Wings of Phoenix”, which supports the army, and the one updating its website. In addition, she is said to be a close comrade of Oksana Yanishevska. She was the vice-head of Mykolayiv oblast state administration under the head Vadym Merikov, who held this office till June of 2016.
The website of the city of Mykolayiv (0512.com.ua) is a part of the network “City Sites”. The company was founded in Mariupol, and the network’s head office is located there, too. When its owners are mentioned, the names that come up are Fedir Zhukov, with Yevhen Yavtushenko holding the office of the network’s executive director.
The website Egalite (egalite.com.ua) on its front page indicated its license number. Based on it, we can verify that the founder of the media outlet is LLC "Informational agency “Atlantis”. Its listed owners are Oleksiy Victorovych Lomako and Serhiy Pavlovych Tanayev. Not much is known about them; Oleksiy Lomako’ CV on a job website mentions that he worked as a middle-level manager in the banking sector and that he is ready to work in Kyiv or Mykolaiv. Serhiy Tanayev is registered at an address in Kyiv. What is interesting, the legal address of the LLC “IA “Atlantis” is the same address, where “NIS-TV” and several other enterprises are located, all of these enterprises being affiliated with Olena Zadyrko (ultimate beneficiary of the channel “NIS-TV”). According to the state register of property rights, the building is owned by a number of enterprises and people. Among them, there are LLC “NIS TV” and its founders: Vitaliy Mekheda (shares 565/20000), Andriy Hnoyevyi (shares 985/20000), Yuri Liubarov (shares 385/20000), Olena Zadyrko (shares 23/20000), and her husband Hennadiy Zadyrko (shares 805/20000).
The founders of the website “Inshe TV” (inshe.tv) are Oksana Tykhonchuk and Volodymyr Maystrenko. Tykhonchuk also is the head of the media outlet and author of several materials.
The website “Korabelov.Info” (korabelov.info) is owned by the activist and local entrepreneur Serhiy Belov. This information is available in the state register of printed media outlets, as well as in its editorial office’ response to IMI’s request.
The website “Moi Gorod” (mycity.mk.ua) is an officially registered media outlet, believed to have links to the member of Mykolayiv oblast council Yuri Kormyshkin (party “Nash Kray”). The register officially lists Olena Vitaliyivna Donchenko as the founder of the media outlet. A person with the same name appears in the ownership structure of several agricultural enterprises. In particular, in the register of legal entities she is listed as the head of the state enterprise “Stepove” and of “Mykolayiv Agricultural and Fish Farm Enterprise”. The listed owners of these enterprises are Yuri Anatoliyovych Kormyshkin and Rostyslav Volodymyrovych Danylchenko – both ex-members of the oblast council from the Party of Regions. Yuri Kormyshkin is a member of the oblast council, the head of the Commission on issues of agrarian policy, land relations, and rural social development.
The website “Nikolayevskiye izvestia” (izvestia.nikolaev.ua) belongs to LLC “Media Group "Mykolayivski Visti”. The listed founder and head of the company is Natalia Melnychenko. The media outlet is believed to have links to the member of Mykolayiv oblast council Oleksandr Yasynsky. The website’s content includes several stories serving his interests.
The website “Nikolayev v Podrobnostiakh” (podrobnosti.mk.ua) is registered to LLC “Podrobytsi pro Mykolayiv”. This information was quoted in the ruling by Mykolayiv district administrative court as of August 20, 2015. Then, the editorial office went to court to appeal the decision of the city council on appointing Yevhen Shevchenko deputy mayor. LLC “Podrobytsi pro Mykolayiv” was founded by LLC “Vimas-Tsentr”, run by Volodymyr Korol. As the “Center of journalist investigations” points out, Korol is considered to be a close companion to Ihor Diatlov, the leader of the local branch of the Opposition Bloc.
The website “Times” (times.mk.ua) was registered to LLC “Times.mk.ua”. Its entry in the register of legal entities lists Maksym Andriyovych Nevinchanyi as its final owner and founder of the company. He is a member of Mykolayiv oblast council from the Opposition Bloc.
The Mykolayiv-based “Center of Journalist Investigations” (nikcenter.org) was created by the similarly-named NGO. The founders of the NGO are Tetiana Kliakhina, Oleh Ohanov, and Tetiana Fabrikova, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Ridne Prybuzhzhia”, which we have already mentioned earlier. Oleh Ohanov runs both the organization and the website.
According to he website “Shypovnyk” (shipovnik.ua), as a legal entity it exists as the informational agency “7gazet”. The founder of this company is Yulia Olshevska, and Oleksandr Kubyk is listed as its executive. These individuals don’t appear in other entries in the register of legal entities. Local journalists link this website to the People’s Deputy from the party “Vidrodzhennia” Artem Ilyuk. He, indeed, frequently graces the website’s newsfeed in dzhynsa materials.
The website “Nikmedia” (nikmedia.com.ua) presents itself as a part of “the international media holding Nikmedia”. The media outlet was founded by the private enterprise "Interlegis", whose listed owner is Natalia Yentina and top executive is Alla Yentina. The latter is also listed as the founder and owner of LLC “Mykolayiv Biofuel Company”. The member of Mykolayiv city council from the party “Nash Kray” Vladyslav Yentinу in his biography filed to the Central Election Commission indicated that he is the director of this company.
The website “Mykolayivska pravda” (www.nikpravda.com.ua) is said to be affiliated with the MP from Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc Arkadiy Kornatskyi. Here, he appears in the news more often than in any other media outlet.
The website “Novostnoy Nikolayev” (novosti-mk.org), one of the newer media projects, is believed to have links to Artem Vashchylenko, executive director of Mykolayiv-based “Center for support of business”. In 2012, he ran for Parliament, was self-nominated, yet at the same time he was the member of “Party for development of Ukraine” (headed by a former Party of Regions member Yuri Miroshnychenko). At local elections of 2015, he was nominated by the party “Nova Derzhava”. We failed to find any direct evidence that the website belongs to Vashchylenko. Yet, his presence at the presentation of the portal gives reasons to believe this is the case.
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).