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18000 journalist reports tensions in dialogue with Cherkasy mayor; mayor denies

24.07.2023, 15:45
Photo: 18000 on Facebook
Photo: 18000 on Facebook

Iryna Malyukova, a journalist for the Cherkasy media outlet "18000", says that the editors have encountered unethical behavior while communicating with the Cherkasy mayor, Anatoly Bondarenko, and that he has declined their inquiries. The mayor denies that there are any tensions in communicating with the media.

Iryna Malyukova informed IMI about this and the Cherkasy mayor commented on the matter.

Malyukova believes that the reason for the mayor's reaction to the 18000 is that it is the oblast's only media outlet that does journalistic investigations.

"That is probably why we are witnessing such responses from him. We have made content about the mayor in 2021 and now. Every time we ask him for a comment, this is the kind of answers we get. Unfortunately, we are dealing with offences, insults to our dignity and business reputation, and even with sexism," the journalist said.

The editors sent an online request to the mayor while collecting information for an investigation, asking him about his property: the real estate and the cars. A copy of the request was seen by IMI. However, the reply from the mayor came not in the mail, but during a City Council session. Anatoly Bondarenko wrote the answer by hand and handed it to Iryna Malyukova.

"We took the first comment with no prior agreement, near the City Council, during working hours. We did not receive answers to all of the questions, so we sent another written request to the City Council. We do not understand why the mayor of an oblast center decided to give us a handwritten reply. By the way, we got the reply after he posted the photo of the letter on Facebook, making up the questions that we supposedly asked him. Like 'Why isn't the mayor spending his nights at home?'" the journalist explained.

At the same time, Malyukova added that, for the most part, the team has no issues when receiving comments from the City Council's press office or directly from the mayor by phone for their news reports. When it comes to analytical content or investigations, however, things understandably get more difficult.

"But what's more impressive is the public response to these comments. Which, in fact, we covered in our last investigation about the house construction. In particular, we have been publicly accused of being bribed and of having "low morals" during the plenary session and in several posts and comments on his and our Facebook pages, with him trying to accuse us of being on various structures' payroll, referring to a tender we won or a on investigations contest from Suspilne," the journalist noted, adding that there has been no public response to the investigation from the mayor.

In his comment to IMI, Mayor Anatoly Bondarenko noted that there were no tensions in his communication with the media. According to him, "the publication simply writes false information." Asked about the offensive behaviour on his part, the mayor replied: "They can say whatever they like. It's their right."

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