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CHESNO says that "Uryadovy Kurier" is being censored to favour "Servant of the People" head

28.07.2023, 17:59

The CHESNO movement reports that an "Uryadovy Kurier" article about the urban planning code, which had been deleted back in April, is back on the website and has been amended.

Back then, the movement pointed this out and, as noted, wrote several requests to the Cabinet of Ministers and to "Uryadovy Kurier".

The reply from the media outlet was rather vague and they had to send a second request. Chief editor Serhiy Braha responded on June 14.

"That is, violating the legal deadline for providing an answer," CHESNO stresses.

Photo by the CHESNO Movement

"The editorial team of the newspaper is currently finalizing the material about the development of the Urban Planning Code; accordingly, the material will be published soon after the preparation is complete," the letter reads.

The article later appeared on the "Uryadovy Kurier" website. CHESNO compared screenshots of the article which had been taken down from the website in early April with the new text in order to find out what exactly the editors were busy "finalizing" for over two months.

They discovered that a comment by a representative of the Association of Ukrainian Cities, Oksana Prodan, and a part of the thesis emphasized by the deputy head of the Architectural Chamber of Ukraine, Anna Kyriy, which concluded the material, were gone from the article.

Photo by the CHESNO Movement

Instead the article featured a different headline and additional quotes by the head of the Servant of the People party and of the Committee on State Construction and Local Self-Government, Olena Shulyak. She is a key lobbyist for the urban "reform" which the European Parliament recommended Volodymyr Zelensky not to sign due to corruption risks.

"It is interesting that the headline itself has been changed, too. It used to say "Urban Planning Code to resolve controversial issues", and now it says "Urban Planning Code. Will the document be adopted before the start of the large-scale reconstruction". And this is the exact message that Ms. Shulyak promotes: "Our opponents are in no hurry to write the Code, as it is ideal for the corruption to keep flourishing." We remind you that the story with the bill No. 5655 has been going on for two and a half years. If Shuliak had spent this period working with stakeholders, we could have had a good reform. But there is no time for democracy," Anna Kyriy stresses.

In order to add Shulyak's quotes, some of the editors' text was moved to subtitles.

Photo by the CHESNO Movement

As noted by CHESNO, "Uryadovy Kurier" deleted the article and only posted the "amended" version up again after their requests and the media backlash. Only now it featured new quotes from Shulyak and some quotes from other speakers were gone.

"One can surmise who benefited from such censorship. The CHESNO Movement knows about Olena Shulyak's repeated attempts to influence the mass media. Fortunately, in most cases, the editors withstand the pressure from the head of the ruling party. Censorship is unacceptable in a democratic society and has to be rooted out strictly and without compromising," stressed Vita Dumanska, the leader of the CHESNO Movement.

The Institute of Mass Information has contacted the "Uryadovy Kurier" office for a comment.

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