Oles Buzina on media censorship in Ukraine and why he quit his post as editor-in-chief of a popular newspaper


Author, historian and journalist Oles Buzina

Oles Buzina

March 10, 2015

Translated by Dvajdsidva on April 22,2015

Yes, I wrote a resignation letter. No regrets there.

As the Internet began releasing tidal waves of information regarding my resignation from the post of editor in chief of the Ukrainian newspaper “Segodnya” [‘Today’] (http://www.segodnya.ua/), the actual causes are explained below.

First of all, I do not agree with the CENSORSHIP in the newspaper where I worked. We all received orders from above (from the media group “Ukraine”), orders that rule OVER the newspaper and also OVER the chief editor. This order states, that you cannot criticize the “special status” of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, which I learned only after taking office. He is UNTOUCHABLE, with which I categorically disagree. This is the actual “editorial policy” we had. I just did not want to adhere to it. In our newspaper it was also impossible to write about the many other “secrets.” The fact that Petro Poroshenko factory increases its production in Russia, is one such example. A short note was left by the CEO of the newspaper, Vasily Potapov, regarding my initiation of this story, this was what was written on that note: “This story is no good”.

Secondly, If you would like to grant someone responsibility, you need to give the chief-editor some actual powers, and not bind him, hand and foot, to certain restrictions on speech and written word when it comes to certain political cases. Such powers I did not have. In fact, such powers were generally not defined.

Thirdly, the website of “Segodnya” does not follow any drafted rules of editor-in-chief. This is pretty much the policy of the media group, confuse everything, and confuse everyone. They want to share the power, but to also be able to assign someone as the scapegoat. When I told the same CEO, Vasily Potapov: “Let’s make an official statement that the website is NOT FOLLOWING to my rules. I do not want to be held responsible for incompetence and FACTUAL ERRORS of their decision not under my leadership. Vasily Potapov told me, “No, don’t do that. Not yet”. I never understood, when will that time finally arrive. And then I thought: why wait? For the record, I was responsible only for the PAPER version of “Segodnya”. For all the odd nonsense that regularly appeared on the newspaper’s website, with the exception of my columns, you should refer to the editor of the website Svetlana Panyushkina. It is high time to publicize the name of that official, who is very fond of hiding from responsibility.

Fourthly: the curator of the newspaper media group “Ukraine” Ekaterina Lapshina and CEO Vasily Potapov forbade me to talk to the press, participate in talk shows, and comment on any situation regarding the attention in the media I have been receiving regarding my appointment two months ago.

Like any writer, I decided that my freedom and publicity are dearer to me than my chief editorial salaries and thus devoted to Ms. Lapshina, the following epigram:

Who is, Katya Lapshina,

that she be so special,

As to have Katya,

oversee Buzina?

Fifthly, the cup of my patience overflowed with the showing of the interview with former head of the fiscal service of Ukraine, Igor Belous. I did what I could to resist the publishing of this garbage material which had nothing to do with real journalism. But in the end the powers that be put it on the “top” of the newspaper. And then soon after that, I gave up and wrote a letter of resignation. Do what you want, write what you want. But without me.

Helloooo, freedom!

Oles Buzina was killed a month after this blog entry was written in front of his house

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