Since then, Kyiv Post publisher Mohammad Zahoor has set the policy that in editorials – which are supposed to represent the newspaper’s collective opinion on issues – should steer clear of partisan politics. It’s a reasonable restriction and essentially the only one imposed by the publisher, who otherwise allows journalists to offer opinions in this space on the issues of the day as they see fit.
Endorsements are a touchy subject for the Kyiv Post in a number of ways. While most staff members are Ukrainian, the chief editor is American – one of four expatriates on the editorial staff – and the owner is a British citizen. CEO Michael Willard is another American.
Endorsements, rightly or wrongly, in such circumstances may look to the public as if a bunch of foreigners are telling Ukrainians how to vote. Moreover, regrettably in this nation, criticism is interpreted as opposition. By contrast, in developed democracies (Ukraine is not one – and is, in fact, moving away from democracy), free speech is celebrated and public officials know that criticism – and even opposition – is fair game for anyone who claims to serve the public interest.