Journalists protest against censorship
06.05.10 | www.pravda.com.ua
Journalists have issued an open letter in which they assert that censorship is being imposed on Television Channel 1 + 1. The journalists from TSN which is the news service of the same media outlet write:
“As journalists from TSN, we wish to state that censorship is being imposed on the television channel 1 + 1.
We are prohibited from covering certain subjects on air. Our reports containing criticism of the current regime are for political considerations taken off air. The final decision regarding whether material is broadcast is taken not by the editor of the programme, not even by the Chief Editor of TSN, but by the General Director of 1 + 1”.
The journalists write that the final straw was the news summary programme of TSN broadcast on 2 May in which “material about the political confrontation in the Verkhovna Rada turned into classical examples of information killing”.
They stress that they are not speaking as defenders or supporters of the opposition and state that their political preferences are left outside their news features. “However we consider that each side has equal rights to have their position presented to the viewer.”
They point out that “the daring attempt by our colleague, Myroslav Otkovych, to raise the issue of censorship has resulted in accusations of bias, dilettantism and lack of professionalism from the Deputy Head of the President’s Administration [Anna Herman].
The attempt mentioned by Myroslav Otkovych was in an article published as a blog on Ukrainska Pravda. His allegations under the title Have taboo subjects returned to Ukrainian television? can be found in English here: khpg.org/index.php?id=1272657618
“We don’t want to be hirelings and propagandists. For us freedom of speech is not an empty word, but the basis of our profession. For this reason we are stating our categorical opposition to pressure on freedom of speech.”
“We demand an immediate end to the control over TSN/
We demand an end to the shameful practice of imposing “directives”, “important instructions” and the banning of various topics.
We demand a return to fundamental principles of journalism: objectivity, balance and equal distance from political forces”.
The journalists stress that should their demands be ignored they will consider the possibility of holding a one day warning strike.
“In addition, from today we will be making public all cases of censorship of which we are aware.”
“We turn to all our colleagues. We know that not only we are facing the pressure of censorship. We know how hard it is at the moment to make this first step. In 2004 we found the strength in us. We overcame our fear, each our own. And we said “No” to censorship.
We are risking losing our profession, the trust of our compatriots, this country in which each of us wants to live. In which our children will live.
Colleagues! We call on you to unite and together defend the honour of our profession!
We will demonstrate that there are many of us. Of those who value freedom of speech, not its imitation. We are strong. Together”.
The letter is signed by the following journalists and presenters from TSN: