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Ann Cooper   Committee to Protect Journalists   28-Oct-1999   Kuchma censors four newspapers
"As a nonpartisan organization of journalists dedicated to defending press freedom around the world, CPJ condemns your government's crude attempts to censor these four newspapers for their editorial positions." Ann Cooper
George-Soros-installed Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma continues on his relentless path to transform Ukraine from a fledgling democracy to a mafia dictatorship, and to transform himself from a mere corrupt politician to a mafia godfather.  The chief benefit to Leonid Kuchma of re-election will be that he avoids for a while longer prosecution for the crimes he has committed while in office.  Unfortunately for Leonid Kuchma, however, his victory this October will only delay the day of reckoning, and in the end will only increase the number of crimes for which he will be answerable.

The information below comes from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), whose home page may be accessed by clicking on this link, http://www.cpj.org, or on the CPJ logo below:
External link to CPJ


Please see also the CPJ Enemies of the Press ranking for 1999.




Ukranian Government censors four opposition newspapers as presidential election nears




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October 28, 1999

His Excellency Leonid Kuchma
President of Ukraine
vul. Bankivska 11
Kyiv, Ukraine

Via Fax: 011-380-44-293-7364 / 291-6161 / 293-1001

Your Excellency,

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is greatly troubled by your government's recent attempts to censor four opposition newspapers prior to the October 31 presidential elections.

In four apparently separate incidents on October 13-15, local printing houses in the cities of Kryviy Rih and Luhansk, under pressure from authorities, refused to print four newspapers that have endorsed your political rivals for the presidency.

In one case, a printing company in Luhansk refused to print the October 15 edition of the popular XXI Vek newspaper after its editor Yuri Yurov declined to pull a front page photo of candidate Yevhen Marchuk and several articles critical of your administration.

Two other Luhansk newspapers, Rakurs and Nashe Zavtra, were also unable to publish that week. Both newspapers have endorsed Oleksander Moroz in the presidential race. The Donetsk company that normally prints Rakurs claimed it was experiencing technical problems. Mykola Severin, the paper's editor, tried to hire the printer that publishes Nashe Zavtra. But he found that tax inspectors had just shut down the printing house, blocking the publication of both papers.

On October 15, employees at the city-owned printing house in Kryviy Rih told the editors of Kryvoi Rog Vecherny that they were breaking their contract to print the paper. (Kryvoi Rog Vecherny has also endorsed Moroz in the presidential race.) The employees claimed to have acted at the request of the Askon company, which owns the paper. Kryvoi Rog Vecherny's editors believe the publisher was pressured to submit this request after the paper experienced a series of politically motivated attacks.

The attacks on Kryvoi Rog Vecherny began after authorities accused one of Moroz's aides of plotting a grenade attack on a rival presidential candidate, Natalia Vitrenko. Beginning on October 2, Ukraine officials subjected the paper to a series of hostile tax audits. On the night following the grenade attack, police ransacked the offices of Kryvoi Rog Vecherny and detained one of its editors, Inna Chyrchenko. Chyrchenko was released after 17 hours of interrogation about the paper's ties with Moroz and his aide, Serhiy Ivanchenko. More reprisals followed after the paper ran an October 14 article that criticized the government's case against Ivanchenko as circumstantial and politically motivated.

As a nonpartisan organization of journalists dedicated to defending press freedom around the world, CPJ condemns your government's crude attempts to censor these four newspapers for their editorial positions. We are troubled by the Kuchma regime's increasingly flagrant efforts to silence opposition news media, particularly during the runup to the October 31 presidential election. Your campaign to stifle all critical expression over the last several years has fostered a climate of fear and self-censorship in which no genuinely independent news media can survive.

CPJ urges you to put an end to all press freedom abuses in Ukraine and to uphold your government's international obligation to respect the right of journalists to practice their profession freely and safely.

Thank you for your attention. We await your comments.

Sincerely,

Ann K. Cooper
Executive Director



Join CPJ in Protesting Attacks on the Press in the Ukraine

Send a letter to:

His Excellency Leonid Kuchma
President of Ukraine
vul. Bankivska 11
Kyiv, Ukraine
Via Fax: 011-380-44-293-7364  /  291-6161  /  293-1001