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1+1 TV journalists claim censorship of news reports

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May 6, 2010, 11:57 p.m. | Ukraine — by Kyiv Post

Journalists from 1+1 TV station, the nation's second most popular channel, on May 6 accused the company’s top management and a member of President Viktor Yanukovych’s administration of direct censorship and interference in their work.
© tsn.ua

Yanukovych aide Hanna Herman, station’s general director deny interference allegations. Kyiv Post Staff Journalists from 1+1 TV station, the nation's second most popular channel, on May 6 accused the company’s top management and a member of President Viktor Yanukovych’s administration of direct censorship and interference in their work.

Hanna Herman, deputy head of the presidential administration for media issues, denied the charges. “I will discuss the matter with them [the journalists],” Herman said.

Oleksandr Tkachenko, the 1+1 general director, released a statement on the same day, denying the charges as well and implying that the 15 journalists who signed the statement lack professionalism.



Journalists from 1+1 TV channel spoke out against censorship in a May 6 letter. Deputy head of President Viktor Yanukovych’s administration, Hanna Herman, (above) denied pressuring journalists, as did Oleksandr Tkachenko, the station’s general director. (Yaroslav Debelyi, tabloid.com.ua)


The allegations will support concerns – already rampant since Yanukovych took power on Feb. 25 – that the nation’s press freedoms will be curbed, as they had been before the 2004 pro-democracy Orange Revolution.

The developments also fuel fears that after swiftly pulling Kyiv closer to Moscow’s orbit in recent weeks, Yanukovych may be trying to install Kremlin-style control over media and democracy.

Such a scenario would distort and limit the information the public gets about how their government functions, as independent and fair journalism gives way to flattering and uncritical coverage of top officials.

Solomiya Vitvytska, one of the station’s journalists who signed the letter, said that she and colleagues decided to act after the anchor of the station’s news program, Natalya Moseichuk, refused to go on air because she was told to limit coverage of the opposition.

“She’s been taken off air since then. Alla Mazur [another famous anchor] has also stepped down,” Vitvytska said. “Another anchor, Oleksiy Likhman, also refused to host the program. So they [editors] just put ‘a nobody’ to present the week in review news program. The bulletin came out with three stories appeasing the government.”
Most authors of this letter have hardly ever met with censorship in real life. It’s a different matter that because of the changes in political conditions in the country, many are starting to confuse their own political sympathies with the basic rules of journalism. But this issue has nothing to do with an editorial policy,”

- Oleksandr Tkachenko, 1+1 general director.

Moseichuk, however, denied any conflicts, saying she is simply on vacation. “I solve work-related problems at work.”

However, Telekritika, a media watchdog, reported recently that Moseichuk had been looking for a job.

Many authors of the letter are veteran TV journalists who defended their professionalism and fairness against charges to the contrary. “Freedom of speech for us aren’t hollow words, instead they are the foundation of our profession,” the journalists said in their statement.

Tkachenko, the 1+1 general director, was dismissive of his station’s own journalists – essentially saying they don’t know what they’re talking about.

“Fortunately, most authors of this letter have hardly ever met with censorship in real life. It’s a different matter that because of the changes in political conditions in the country, many are starting to confuse their own political sympathies with the basic rules of journalism. But this issue has nothing to do with an editorial policy,” Tkachenko said in a statement.

Natalia Ligacheva, editor of Telekritika, said “I would discount Tkachenko’s remarks that journalists at the channel may not be working professionally.”

Media experts have been ringing alarm bells ever since Yanukovych took power on Feb. 25. Reporters Without Borders, an international watchdog, raised their concerns in an open letter to the president at the end of April.

“Your government’s behavior towards the media conflicts with what you told the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, namely that reinforcing democracy was an ‘absolute priority’ and that ‘it is free, independent media that must ensure society’s unimpeded access to information.’ We are puzzled by the difference between your statements and the recent conduct towards the media.”

Igor Kolomoisky, the domestic billionaire who owns channel 1+1 and who has rivaled for assets with oligarchs strongly backing Yanukovych, was not immediately available for comment. One of his close confidants refused to discuss the situation.

But Yury Lukanov, head of the Kyiv Independent Media Trade Union, said “the presidential team is pressuring media to limit criticism, to ensure positive coverage."

"Influential businessmen that own the channels could be either under pressure, or in on it,” he said.

“These brutal policies of the country’s new leadership put at risk one of the last democratic outposts with a free media in the post Soviet region, and could be tied to recent attempts to bring Ukraine closer with Russia,” Lukanov added.

Ligacheva said there might be more to the story than direct censorship, adding that rivalries within Yanukovych’s inner-circle could be to blame.

“It’s obvious from the letter that journalists at the channel feel they are being pressured. [But] there may be more to the story than mere censorship. For example, this may all be an attempt by presidential administration head Serhiy Lyovochkin to make his deputy Herman look bad.”


Read the entire statement from 1+1 journalists online here.
The Kyiv Post is hosting comments to foster lively debate. Criticism is fine, but stick to the issues. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks will be removed from the site. If you think that a posted comment violates these standards, please flag it and alert us. We will take steps to block violators.
Anonymous May 7, 2010, 12:20 a.m.    

Ms Herman, regardless f she is jewish german or chineese, she is the NEW DARLING OF UKRAINE,,,,

The smartest female on the Ukrainian Political Horizon...

She allways delivers sound solutions, resolves ssues, with class grace and diplomacy...

After Janu, she is the VERY BEST UKRAINE HAS TO OFFER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hip Hip Hurray For Ms Herman!!!!!!!!

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Anonymous May 7, 2010, 8:17 p.m.    

Ms. Herman, is that you?

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Anonymous May 8, 2010, 8:28 a.m.    

how did you guess ...am I THAT obvious?

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Anonymous May 7, 2010, 12:43 a.m.    

Please do not pay attention to the comment below...this person is not even Ukrainian as all Ukrainian s know that Herman is lacking intelligence as so is Yanuk

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Anonymous May 7, 2010, 7:19 a.m.    

15 journalists who signed the statement lack professionalism! Poor TV station to have this many unprofessional journalists all at once!

On April 29th, the journalist and human rights activist Vadim Cherkass was attacked and beaten almost to death by metal rods in Donetsk. He was rushed to the hospital with 12 cm wound in his scalp and brain damage.

Deny this, Herman.

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Anonymous May 7, 2010, 10:54 p.m.    

Dude, was there a story on this. Point it out because I did not see it.

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Anonymous May 7, 2010, 9:30 a.m.    

Hermann, as Ukrainian as a Turk is German.

Roll back to pre 2004 media censorship...now nothing is left of the Orange events!

A real revolution will sweep these people deep into the Dnipro soon enough!

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Anonymous May 7, 2010, 3:39 p.m.    

Back to the USSR? The government is commanding the media what to televise?

http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/65918/

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Anonymous May 9, 2010, 8:02 p.m.    

Mrs Herman does an amazing job, what ever she is embarked upon..

You falks are filled with envy and jelousy from your Canadian hide outs...

Herman Anna is the bright light of this dark era of Ukraine...

Let us hope she will drive out all the cia stooges from the mass media propaganda aparatus, implanted them there by the cia... like the iranian stunt last summer be usa media peopaganda,,,,

Herman brings class and stability, something Julia and Tymu had failed to learn in their classes at cia head qoaters, where they were traned to mass waterboard mass starve millions of ukrainians

Let us give credit where its due,,,

Herman is also a 1000 times etter looking than trash can julia,,,

Herman,... the new DARLINGG OF UKRAINE

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

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Anonymous May 9, 2010, 8:03 p.m.    

Tymuchenko should also collect signatures of deputies, who want to have her arrested and charged for enbezzelment.

Ivano Frankovsky and its districts such as Khalush, are the Center and the base for the Canadian Busness Assisstance Board, an extended arm of the CIA.

They, this supposedly business Agencies from Canada, are allways located in City Councl Buldings, where they carry out espionage activities.

Their offices in Western Ukraine are allways located at or near Police Stations or in the Building of City Council or Regional Government where they can steal data and carry out electronic espionage and organizing discontentent, and bribing officers in power.

Julia came here to discuss what to do next, as there is a seemngly sbotage activity going on in this secret police/spy service of Canada?Usa, as their head office is wishing to scale down operations, but some neocon lower officials want to keep the fire burning, want to keep pressing Ukraine and ferment an aarchy there...

Russia and USA are currently thawing a bit, as the USA is trying to get out of Bushes war for oil.

Soon the USA is strong again, they will be back at Russia's door, to attack it via revolutions, media originated turmoil formenting..

So Julia feels she will be needed sooon, and she wants to stay relevant even now, in aiding Canadian USA spy networks in Ukraine, to insure her own survival...and ability to reap off this naive but very kind people of Ukraine,,,,

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Anonymous May 9, 2010, 8:14 p.m.    

I love this picture of her above.

I had copied it, and my husband thinks se is elegant and gorgerous...

We think Ms herman is doing a great jo in Ukraine, and we are Ukrainians..

We had alwways felt there was nothing genuine about Tymuchenko, an aggressive histarical paranoid person, who used her histera to keep Ukraine in deadly poverty while she had defrauded the people of billioms,,, all she gave for it in return,,, is that Yanu is a gandster,,,,

Poor excuse, coming from a criminal a thief, a double crosser a political prostitue, Tymuchenko,,, who was a disgrace and shame of the femininity of Ukrainan women..

Ms Herman represents class, a proper cool and calm approach in resolving issues diplomatically.

Tymu was only gving us the crep, and Ukraine learnt nothing from her, except how to steal and be dishonest....

The image of Herman is of a Staes Woman...

She is trustworthy, intelligent, wise, diplomatic, capable and pleasant......

She could be the next Prez of Ukraine...

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Anonymous May 11, 2010, 9:38 p.m.    

You stated:

Ms Herman represents class, a proper cool and calm approach in resolving issues diplomatically.

Since when is a convicted criminal who spent hard time in jail - &quot;class&quot; ???

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Anonymous May 16, 2010, 10:57 p.m.    

As usual the west ukrainians and its diaspora are trying to deploy scare tactics to make people think there is less freedom in Ukraine. They really could not be further than the truth and in the meanwhile look like assholes doing it. The diaspora is a big joke- a bunch of &quot;Tymoshenkos&quot;. I laugh when people like &quot;Les&quot; even post on here. What they really should be doing is tending to their goats back on the farm.

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