Tags: me


We are planning a Round Table on the subject "Journalists and the Police"

Posted in Ukrainian on 2011.02.14 at 17:49

We are planing a Round Table with a projected name "Journalists and the Law Enforcing Authorities", tentatively set for March 1st, 2011. "We" includes The Independent Media Content Contributors Union in Kyiv, Civil Society Group "Internews Ukraine", and the Information Agency "At Your Side". The idea comes from my partner in this Information Agency, Alek Yaroslavtsev.

Below I will outline the plans of the conference, on the basis of our discussions with Andrew Yanicky from the Kyiv Union of the Independent Media Content Contributors, and of my own reflections.

First of all, as to the participants: we intend to invite all journalists, the victims of illegal Police actions - the more, the better. By now I already have an approximate list, with some contact information. Nevertheless - I invite the participation of all and any journalists, who feel that they were subjected to an abuse by the Police. I appeal as well to anybody with a knowledge of such events, to submit the descriptions of them here in the comments section, while naming those involved.

We are also inviting, other than the journalists, the Deputies of the Parliament (and not only from the Opposition), the lawyers working in the media environment, and all those public figures with the interest in this issue. With many of these I am acquainted and I will invite them. All the same - I welcome all suggestions about the names of those who merit to be present at this conference, so that I could take care of the invitations.

Format: I wouldn't like the discourses with statistics. From this sin usually suffer the representatives of the Law Enforcement field, who delight in quoting some numbers that paint such an optimistic picture - which does not quite jibe with the sad realities. Therefore - give us less numbers, and more specifics instead, please.

The purpose: to arrive somewhere other than at a non consequential exchange of opinions.
Some points to cover:

1.The existing legislation is being ignored. The only effective defense against abuse, even in situations foreseen by the Laws, is by creating a lot of noise around the problem. But even then the maximum achievable result seems to be that a victim is left in peace. Those guilty of abuse and non-respect of the Law are never punished, which leads to the repetition of offenses.

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Olena Bilozerska: The journalists are used as police informers

Originally posted on 2011.01.25 at 13:49


I have just remembered, that I had not posted here a grand interview that was taken with me by VVNews and was recorded at the end of last year - before there was a second police search at my residence. I like this interview, particularly because it is neither too well organized nor brought up to the literary standards - not even over edited, it is just a live conversation wherein only the obvious errors are corrected.

* * *
The Ukrainian top blogger Olena Bilozerska is one of the most cited in the Cyrillic Internet, and her page at the LiveJournal may well be the most visited, among the similar ones. She considers herself as a public activist, rather than a reporter. What is the secret of her enormous success? What are the means to increase the ratings of a blog, wherein there is no rumor mongering nor pornography? Is it important for a blogger to express her own convictions and why some bloggers benefit from the level of confidence which exceeds that of the paid reporters - this is the subject of this conversation of the VVNews with a delicate angel of the Ukrainian blogosphere.

Tell us, please, about yourself.

I have a university level liberal education, but not in the journalism.

So then how you have entered the journalism?

In the beginning of 2004 we, a group of friends, visited The Dniester Region to find out about the life of local Ukrainians. One of us was a university student in journalism, and moonlighted in a small newspaper. He had promised to the editor to furnish an article about the subject. Well, being poorly organized or for other reasons common to some young people, he missed the deadline, and the article was not ready. Trying to help him, I wrote the article myself. I was ready to let him sing it - I had written it for him. Well, he preferred to present the situation honestly, and with the article in one hand and with my hand in his other hand, he addressed the editor with an admission: "Mr. Wasyly, this article was written by Olena". After having read the article, the Editor had offered me a job in the newspaper. That's how in the course of that one day I had changed my professional orientation. A totally unforeseen turn of events - I have never even dreamed of becoming a journalist. I had simply wrote an article to help a friend. That's how my life was changed.

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"Reporters sans frontières" set up a notice for the Ministry of Internal Affairs

International organization "Reporters sans frontières" published an announcement condemning the police search of the residence of a journalist and blog reporter, Olena Bilozerska. The announcement classifies these actions as such that "constitute a serious threat to the liberty of the mass media and are conceived as the means of threat against journalists.

Olena Bilozerska included in her blog a video from YouTube, which shows how two young persons throwing what seems to be a Molotov cocktail, onto a window of a building, possibly into the offices of the Party of the Regions of Ukraine.

"Reporters sans frontières" are citing the article 17 of the "Law on the state support of mass media and the social defense of the journalists", which establishes that "the professional activity of a journalist may not serve as a reason for his arrest or detention, nor for the confiscation of the materials and the technical means used by the journalist in his activity".

The announcement further details that the police, who had already searched the residence of Bilozerska twice during the past year, did not allow her to contact her attorney by phone during the search, which went on on for more than six hours.

During the search, the parents of Bilozerska were interrogated. Olena Bilozerska herself was summoned to a police station for an interrogation, that same evening.

Afterward, the police returned the mobile phone, printer and scanner - but kept under confiscation the computers, the photo and video cameras, as per latest news from the "Reporters sans frontières".

"We are extremely upset by the fact, that once again Bilozerska is being treated as a suspect, while she was only doing her professional duty as a journalist", declares the announcement of the "Reporters sans frontières".

"We appeal the Ukrainian Police to show respect to the Law and to return to the journalist the tools of her profession. These acts of police constitute a serious threat to the liberty of the mass media and, it appears, are designed to frighten the journalists and force them to adopt the attitude of self censorship" - stresses the text of the announcement.

Original in Ukrainian referred to below - it is a second part or the article:


МВС "унеможливить провокації ЗМІ" щодо протестів
Репортери без кордонів застерігають МВС

Olena Bilozerska. Interview to BBC.

Where do you turn when you need the latest news? There is no shortage in available official news services which cover the latest stories. However, there are also different kinds of journalism, of collecting and distributing information. Olena Bilozerska calls herself a free journalist. She earns her professional trustworthiness through keeping her blog at LiveJournal exceptionally current. For example, this week she is covering business owners’ protests in Kyyiv, Ukraine directly as they are occurring from Maydan using Twitter.

(Olena Bilozerska started her Livejournal blog about four years ago, and now has 2371 friends, she also has 2270 Twitter followers - Note by translator)

Bilozerska believes that the new technologies, internet in particular, open new venues of work for a free journalist such as herself. These are different from traditional media: newspapers, television, or radio, because they are much less expensive.

Olena Bilozerska: it is not just the matter of new vs. traditional media; here, in Ukraine it is also a matter of official media, many of which are traditionally thought of as biased, vs. bloggers, whom people usually believe. People trust me, because they know I will never intentionally lie, and will correct and apologize for any occasional mistakes.

Bohdan Tsupin: From my understanding you had very limited sleep last night covering Kyyiv events. This work, which is fairly difficult, as well as your blog in general, is not something you get paid for.

Bilozerska: Correct, the blogging is unpaid. My earnings come from occasional side jobs. In this way I am like a beginner entrepreneur, who for several years invests all his first earnings, all his energy, all of himself in his business, hoping that in future it will bring him profit.

Tsupin: You create your own workplace; you produce a service, which you try to sell. Essentially you are a business owner, right?

Bilozerska: Right. I am a small business owner. You can perceive our media agency as a small business. I am not too savvy in economics; that is my partner’s job. However, I know that if our president will not put a veto on this new tax policy, we will suffer with the rest of businesses.

Tsupin: Do you see a danger in such approach? If a journalist, approaches a story professionally and thus presents it in an unbiased manner it is different from a journalist having personal interest in a story. Aren’t you afraid of losing objectivity and becoming one of the biased media outlets you talked about?

Bilozerska: I am not afraid of that, because my goal is not to be completely objective. I categorically oppose the popular belief that a journalist does not have a right to an opinion, mirroring and transferring the information she got from others. I don’t think that a journalist must only present experts’ comments, and withhold her own.

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Original text in Ukrainian: