World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Protest Campaign - Ukraine, 29 June 2015

Protest Campaign - Ukraine, 29 June 2015

Article ID:

18929

His Excellency President Petro Poroshenko
President of Ukraine
Kiev, Ukraine

(By email)

 

29 June 2015

 

Your Excellency,

We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our serious concern at a raid by tax police on Vesti newspaper.

According to reports, on 18 June tax police raided the Kiev office of the Multimedia Invest Group, publishers of the Vesti daily. The raid halted the work of the media group’s two publications, Vesti and Vesti Reporter magazine, for several hours. A second search was conducted at the same time at the office of Vesti Mass Media, the company that founded the newspaper.

According to the State Fiscal Service, the searches were authorized by a court ruling and part of an on-going investigation into criminal proceedings initiated last year against Vesti employees on charges of tax evasion and money laundering. According to reports, 242 Vesti employees were questioned in the earlier investigation and the company, which continues to deny the allegations, claims to be cooperating with the investigation.

We are concerned that the raid by the tax police may be related to Vesti’s reporting, which has been criticised by some government politicians and civic activists as being ‘pro-Russian’.

We respectfully remind you that a plurality of views is a cornerstone of democracy and that officials must not harass outlets they disagree with. More diverse and free media is supportive of democracy not a threat to it. Targeting an outlet for its editorial coverage would be a breach of the right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by numerous international conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.”

We respectfully call on you to ensure that Vesti is treated in exactly the same way as any other news outlet and that tax inspections are not used as a pretext to harass the daily for its editorial content. We urge you to ensure that your country fully respects its international obligations to freedom of expression.

 

We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

 

Yours sincerely,


Tomas Brunegård
President
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

 

Marcelo Rech
President
World Editors Forum

 

WAN-IFRA is the global organisation for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organization groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.

Author

Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop

Date

2015-06-29 15:19

Contact information

In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...