April 15, 2011. Kyiv, Ukraine
Independent Media Trade Union (KIMTU) supports the strike of journalists’ of the newspaper “Kyiv Post”, who announced their protest against the brutal dismissal of the newspaper’s chief editor Brian Bonner. Mohammed Zahur, the owner of the newspaper, brutally removed that experienced journalist and the head of the creative team of the newspaper from the office just because he refused to obey the absurd instructions from the owner to remove the uncomfortable interview. This is the brutal intervention into the editorial policy of the newspaper.
KIMTU draws attention to a dangerous trend in Ukraine. It is the second case of chief editor dismissal. Two weeks ago it happened to Serhiy Tykhyi, chief editor of “Hazeta po-kievski” that belongs to the financial industrial group “Privat ” owned by Ihor Kolomoisky. To remove Mr Tykhyi from his office the owner had stopped printing the newspaper.
The owners’ claims these newspapers are not in good financial condition do not stand up to scrutiny. Although there were some problems, both newspapers developed successfully.
Real reason for repressions against highly professional editors lies elsewhere. The government of Ukraine created the regime that requires even richest people to please the authorities. The authorities make the owners to gag the media. Otherwise they risk their businesses. In case the authorities are not satisfied with owners they may attack their business interests.
The statement by the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych with assurances to support the independent media is hypocritical by its nature. After all, he declares one policy, and in fact provides something quite different. He released the statement in support of the team of “Hazeta po-kievski”, but in fact did nothing to avoid the despotism towards the chief editor of the newspaper.
Thus, the authority presses and intimidates owners of the media, and the owners intimidate chief editors and editorial teams.
“If they can throw off the chief editor so easily, what you can say about the usual journalists? – The chairman of KIMTU Yuriy Lukanov says. – Journalists should realize that the only way to resist such political pressure is by solidarity protests. Because tomorrow every colleague may find himself in of Brian Bonner and Serhiy Tykhyi” .
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