Ukrainian mass media still preserve features of the authoritarian press

Summarizing results of interaction of mass media and the new government during the first hundred days, media experts point out some improving standards of journalistic activity, but the situation with the freedom of speech remains far from ideal.

Yesterday at a press-conference at UNIAN representatives of the Academy of the Ukrainian Press, the Independent media trade union of Ukraine, the Independent media trade union of Kyiv and the Institute of mass information presented results of an expert questionnaire regarding the format of relations of the government and media in Ukraine, and also materials of the research regarding elucidating major political events by leading television channels of Ukraine.  

In the opinion of Valeriy Ivanov, the president of the Academy of the Ukrainian Press, at present one can speak about cooperation of mass media and the government just conditionally. According to him, today media don’t perform their main function, peculiar of the democratic press, – controlling the government’s actions. In this sense the position of the so-called ‘oppositional’ mass media, feeding their audience with “poisoned sandwiches”, especially disturbs: on the one hand they show as if loyal attitude to the government, and on the other journalists demonstrate ambiguous, implicit appraisal of its actions.  

This situation was formed, above all, due to dependence of employees of some mass media on their owners, direct intrusion into editorial policy by representatives of political forces. However, on the whole, in his opinion, the standards of journalistic activity became much better.  

Some representatives of the state apparatus are not very consolatory either. Particularly, as V. Ivanov pointed out, the Presidential Secretariat acts against the democratic principle of mass media, it is proved by statements of Mr. Zinchenko and Mr. Lubkivsky regarding postponing for indefinite period of time (at least till the parliamentarian elections) organization of public broadcast and revival of the state media. “We should act so if we preserve authoritarian state”, – he supposes. The president of the Academy of the Ukrainian Press stressed that mass media should oppose such antidemocratic wishes of the government themselves.

Among other, participants of the press-conference pointed out that so far there is administrative pressure on mass media, however, as a rule, it is observed on regional level and is not a result of the state policy. Among the problems in the mass media which were inherited from the old regime, he also pointed out limitations of journalist’s right for access to information and absence of reaction of the government representatives to information in mass media.  

Yevhen Hlibovytsky, the head of the Independent media trade union of Kyiv, informed at the press-conference about establishing “a rating of enemies of the Ukrainian press”. He singled out, that the Independent media trade union of Kyiv took the decision to initiate this rating since this year.

Till September 16 this year the methodology according to which the rating will be formed will be made public; the rating will be made public at the end of every year. It will consist of “the people who caused the most problems to the free press in Ukraine during a calendar year”.

Besides, he said that the Independent media trade union of Kyiv and the Independent media trade union of Ukraine commence the process of uniting, which, in his opinion, will last for a long time. Yevhen Hlibovytsky pointed out that the united trade union will be the first in Ukraine to join the International federation of journalists.

Olena Holiuk


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