"Most of medias are covering events in Dnepropetrovsk objectively"

"Most of medias are covering events in Dnepropetrovsk objectively"

Dnipropetrovsk is one of the largest cities in eastern Ukraine, there are millions of people. We talked about the situation with freedom of speech of local medias with the director of Promedia Consulting and chief editor of "Novomoskovsk Today" Olga Bugay.

Have been freedom of speech of medias in Dnipropetrovsk affected by events of recent months?

- Almost all local media work as usually. Those who previously were objective and covered events as fully as possible, continue to work so.

We were wondered by another event. We have a 34 channel TV-company, which is partly municipal and partly owned by SCM (its owner is ukrainian richest man Rinat Akhmetov - ed.). During the violent crackdown on January 26 their crew suffered. But at the same time news site of the channel continued to broadcast information that is different from reality. All operators and journalists had the opportunity to see and shoot everything that happened with their own eyes. However, Channel 34 spoke and showed very mixed materials.

In addition, unfortunately, there are so-called "court" journalists. For example, during the assault of the regional state administration there were journalists who were filming everything that happens from inside. This RSA was guarded by police, " tutushki" (gunmen hired by authorities - ed.). Many journalists have suffered, but some were at the same time in a privileged position.

But this situation is not directly related to what is happening now. This balance of power and freedom of speech was before. Right now it is only very clearly seen.

Generally speaking, how objectively local medias report?

- Most of the media are objective, e. g. 9 and 11 channels, most online medias and print medias. Municipal channels - 34 and 51 - broadcast view of the authorities, the same applies to few other websites.

Is public opinion in Dnepropetrovsk more influenced by local or national media?

- Studies show that the national media are more influential. But when events take place in Dnepropetrovsk, local channels have advantages: speed of information report, completeness and opportunity to cover what is happening in more detail. So I can suppose that now Dnepropetrovsk media are more important to highlight events, which are happening in the city. Although correspondents of all national channels works here too.

A few days ago, prosecutors gave journalists the status of victims injured in Dnepropetrovsk on January 26. Does journalistic community believe that there would be an objective investigation and all guilty persons wiil be punished?

- This is a difficult question. Most likely,  journalist' personal faith in the justice does not coincide with reality. Nevertheless, this does not negate the need to resort to the prosecutor or the police. Perhaps the fact or resort commits violations of journalists' rights and can affect something.

If I were asked whether to write a resort, I would say "yes." Do I believe in an honest investigation and punishment - I would say "no".

Commonplace of reports is attacks on journalists by gunmen hired by the authorities, including in Dnepropetrovsk. Do you think they have been instructed to  treat correspondents?

- I can not talk about it for sure. But I suppose that even if they hadn't been instructed to attack journalists, they can consciously avoid taking their photos and videos. Every gunmen can be easily identified by people with photos, those diverge very fast in social networks.

We can talk about a combination of factors. "Titushki" could be instructed to treat journalists or they can percieve journalists as enemies by their own. Certainly, the government deny any involvement in the beatings and attacking journalists. Although, according to the journalist of "Governmental Courier" (newspaper of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine - ed.), when unknown persons tried to take out her technique in RSA building and she asked  policemen for help, no one helped her .

EaP Media Freedom Watch