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Journalists denounce censorship on news programme

(IMI/IFEX) - 6 May 2010 - Journalists from the news programme TSN, which broadcasts on the TV channel 1+1, claimed the channel had been censored. The journalists signed an open letter, in which they said: "We, journalists for TSN, claim censorship has been imposed at 1+1!

"We have been forbidden from covering certain topics and facts. Our reports which criticize the current authorities have been withdrawn from broadcast due to political reasons. The definitive decision as to the broadcasting of the report was taken not by the news program editor or chief editor of TSN news magazine, but rather by the general director of 1+1," they wrote.

The journalists said the most recent incident to cause outrage was the airing of a weekend news magazine on 2 May where "reports on political confrontations were transformed into classic examples of news killer craft."

"We should point out that we are not defending the opposition, sympathizing with or supporting it. The journalist has to put aside his political sympathies. But we think each party has the right to have its opinion reported to viewers."

The journalists also noted the "courageous attempt made by their colleague Myrsolav Otkovych to raise the issue of censorship that resulted in the head of the presidential administration blaming her for being politically engaged, a dilettante and unprofessional."

"We do not want be mercenaries and propagandists. Freedom of the press is not idle talk; it is the foundation of the profession. That is why we claim we are formally against pressure on press freedom," they said.

"We demand an end to the "manual administration" of TSN. We demand an end to the odious practice of 'guidelines', 'valuable instructions' and prohibitions on covering certain issues. We demand a return to the basic precepts of journalism at TSN, which include impartiality, balance and equal distance from political forces," they wrote.

The journalists warned that if their demands were not met they would stage a one-day strike.

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