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IMI marks World Press Freedom Day with release of 2009 "Predators of the Press" report

(IMI/IFEX) - Oleksander Medvedko, prosecutor general of Ukraine; Hanna Herman, MP and head of the committee on press freedom in the parliament; ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko; President Victor Yanukovich and others were named predators of the press in 2009 at a press conference held by IMI and the Kyiv Independent Trade Union of Journalists (KNMP). The press conference took place in the Ukrinform news agency on 3 May 2010, World Press Freedom Day.

1. Oleksander Medvedko, Prosecutor General
(207 points)

a) 28.09.2009 - The Prosecutor General's Office (GPO) of Pecherkyy district in Kyiv dismissed a complaint against MP Tkachenko (Communist Party). On 1 September 2009, Tkachenko threw a STB TV journalist's microphone in her face instead of answering her question. Probing the case, investigators confirmed the fact that the microphone had been damaged by the MP, but the GPO determined that Tkachenko's actions did not constitute a crime.

b) To date, no serious crime against a journalist has ever been properly investigated by the GPO.

2. MP Oleksander Tkachenko
(202 points)

01.09.2009 - Olga Chervakova, a journalist for the national STB TV, was assaulted by MP Oleksander Tkachenko when she asked him for a comment. The incident occurred inside Parliament. "I asked Mr Tkachenko: 'What caused you to make such a statement?' He answered nothing. Instead, he hit the microphone, then grabbed it and went downstairs. Then he threw it and it fell to the basement," said the journalist.

Tkachenko failed to apologize and was not punished.

3. Ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko
(195 points)

a) 03.12.2009 - Serhiy Leshchenko, a journalist for the online edition of Ukrayinska Pravda, was invited and then suddenly barred from taking part in the live broadcast program "Svoboda" on Ukraina TV where PM Yulia Tymoshenko was to take questions from journalists. After the list of journalists invited for this program was agreed upon by Tymoshenko, Leshchenko's name was found crossed off the list, according to the journalist's 18 December 2009 blog entry.

A similar practice was revealed by well-known journalist Evgeniy Kyselyov, anchor of Inter TV's live broadcast "Major politics". On 4 December, Tymoshenko was to take part in the "Major politics" broadcast, but three journalists, Serhiy Leshchenko ("l'Ukrayinska Pravda"), Roman Skrypine (La chaîne TVi) and Olexandre Tchalenko ("Ségodna") were crossed off the list.

b) 12.06.2009 - Journalist Volodymyr Pavliuk was asked to resign for showing, on 8 June, an unauthorized video of PM Yulia Tymoshenko saying "It's all over!" during his "Reporter" program.

"Yes, the video was shown on Monday. I had a long boring talk with the directors. I was asked to resign, and so I did," Mr Pavliuk said.

"Volodymyr Pavliuk has lost his common sense," said Olga Balaban, Novy Channel's chief spokesperson, about the resignation of the news chief editor. Ms. Balaban rejected the suggestion that the channel was under political pressure.

Click here to read the full report

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