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Ukrainian journalists stood up for Gazeta Wyborcza

07.12.2021, 14:57

Ukrainian journalists and culture figures spoke up for editorial independence of the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. On November 23, editor-in-chief Adam Michnik and his deputy, Jaroslav Kursky, announced that the parent company, Agora SA, which owned the edition, had fired the newspaper's editor, Jerzy Wujcik, who had worked for Gazeta Wyborcza for 30 years, without warning and without consulting. This was reported by Detektor Media.

The next step is likely to be the merger of Gazeta Wyborcza with the online platform, which publishes mostly entertaining news. This could lead to staff reductions and affect editorial independence.

At the initiative of the Ukrainian PEN, journalists, writers, artists and scientists signed an open letter in support of Gazeta Wyborcza's independence.

The signatories expressed concern "over the attempts to deprive the most famous Polish publication, Gazeta Wyborcza, of editorial independence under the guise of a corporate conflict."

“We fully support the legendary editor-in-chief of the daily Adam Michnik and his deputy Yaroslav Kursky, who beat the alarm, in particular, due to the arbitrary dismissal on November 23, 2021 of the editor Jerzy Vujcik, who had been working for the newspaper for 30 years, by the board of Agora SA, which incorporates the daily and which thanks to fatiguless work of journalists has turned into a large media group with websites, radio stations, cinemas and film studios, ” as the open letter said. 

The signatories noted that the merger will translate in staff cuts and sacrifice of the editorial independence of the edition, born of the Solidarity Revolution, for profit.

"This is evident, these processes are taking place amid an unprecedented political pressure from the ruling party, which has ruled Poland since 2015, marginalizing the opposition and trying to deprive it of the media on the orders of Putin in Russia, Orban in Hungary and Yanukovych in Ukraine, by means of relentless lawsuits over the most trivial issues, deprivation of advertising revenue, incitement to corporate conflict. Formally, the government apparently does not muzzle free speech, but forces its spokespersons to rely solely on foreign grants and conduct activities outside the normal institutional framework, ” the open letter read.

The authors of the open letter pointed out that Gazeta Wyborcza has always been known for its freedom-loving approach, impartiality, and political impartiality. "Remaining one of the few Polish media outlets that can criticize the government, Gazeta Wyborcza is a mouthpiece for mass civil campaigns and protests. (…) We grew up with this newspaper and brought up with it. She inspired us with our own projects and activities. Today, we stand with Adam Michnik and his colleagues in this so-called "corporate conflict",which could result in the curtailment of the free press in Poland, ”the open lettrer said.

The signatories also noted that Gazeta Wyborcza and the Solidarity once helped Ukraine gain freedom, and Poland served as model. "Today, in support of these communities, we pay our tribute. Freedom has no borders, and if there are fewer of them in Poland, there will be fewer in Ukraine. So, by defending Gazeta Wyborcza, we are actually defending freedom in Ukraine as well. For your and our freedom! ”The open letter read.

The letter was signed by:

Myroslav Marynovych, publicist, honorary president of the Ukrainian PEN

Mykola Ryabchuk, writer, publicist, honorary president of the Ukrainian PEN

Andriy Kurkov, President of the Ukrainian PEN

Olya Hnatyuk, Vice President of the Ukrainian PEN, prof. NaUKMA

Ostap Slyvynsky, writer, vice president of the Ukrainian PEN

Tetyana Teren, journalist, executive director of the Ukrainian PEN

Serhiy Zhadan, writer

Vitaly Portnikov, journalist

Myroslava Barchuk, journalist, TV presenter

Andriy Lyubka, author, translator from Polish

Andriy Pavlyshyn, historian, translator, member of the Ukrainian PEN

Orest Drul, editor

Artem Chekh, author

Artem Chapai, author

Vasil Makhno, author

Svitlana Povalyaeva, author, poet, public activist

Yuri Vynnychuk, author

Galina Koinash, journalist

Anatoly Dniester, author

Oksana Forostina, author, translator

Halyna Kruk, writer, literary critic

Aleksiy Nikitin, author

Anastasia Levkova, author, editor

Petro Yatsenko, author

Natalka Snyadanko, author, translator

Iza Khruslinska, journalist

Eugene Zakharov, human rights activist

Victor Morozov, translator

Eleanor Solovei, Doctor of Philology, Professor

Oles Ilchenko, author

Iryna Vikirchak, culture manager

Iya Kiva, poet, translator, journalist

Natalia Belchenko, poet, translator

Taras Luchuk, translator

Oksana Kutsenko, writer

Halyna Vdovychenko, writer

Konstantin Sigov, lecturer at NaUKMA

Stepan Protsyuk, writer

Alexey Panich, philosopher, translator

Oleksiy Sinchenko, literary critic

Vladimir Kazarin, Professor of Tavriya National University named after VI Vernadsky

Askold Melnychuk, Professor, University of Massachusetts at Boston

Vano Krueger, poet, philosopher, culturologist

Oksana Lutsyshyna, writer

Hryhoriy Falkovych, poet, chairman of the Sholom Aleichem Society

Olga Mukha, Manager of Congresses, Committees and New Centers of PEN International (London, UK)

Diana Klochko, art critic, lecturer

Taras Wozniak, Editor-in-Chief of Yi Magazine

Zoya Kazanzhi, journalist

Katerina Botanova, critic, curator

Rostislav Semkiv, lecturer at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, director of the Smoloskyp publishing house

Yurko Prokhasko, Ivan Franko Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Lviv National University

Pavlo Volvach, author

Olga Luchuk, literary critic

Olesya Yaremchuk, journalist, writer

Gaska Shiyan, author

Irina Shuvalova, poet, translator, researcher

Andriy Puchkov, art critic, culturologist

Yuriy Matevoshchuk, director of the Ivan Marchuk Museum

Vakhtang Kebuladze, Professor, Faculty of Philosophy, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

Maria Tytarenko, Associate Professor of the UCU School of Journalism and Communications

Kateryna Mikhalytsyna, writer, translator, artist

Tamara Gundorova, Doctor of Science, Professor, Member of the Ukrainian PEN

Yaroslav Hrytsak, historian

Maria Tytarenko, Associate Professor of the UCU School of Journalism and Communication

Kateryna Mykhalytsyna, writer, translator, artist

Basan Oksana, civil servant

Igor Matskevich, pensioner

Hryhoriy Okhotyn, OVD-Info

Romana Romanyshyn, artist, creative workshop "Agrafka"

Andriy Lesiv, artist, Agrafka's creative workshop

Arkady Shtipel, poet

Maria Galina, writer

Mykola Semena, Crimean journalist, journalist of Radio Svoboda

Mykhailo Nazarenko, literary critic, associate professor of the Institute of Philology of the Kyiv National University

Taras Prohasko, author

Victor Verbych, poet and essayist

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