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MYSTERIOUS CASE OF MISSING DIRECTOR OF INDEPENDENT NEWS AGENCY. RSF and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have expressed concern about the disappearance of Ukrainian journalist Mykhaylo Kolomiyets, the director of the Ukrayinski Novyny news agency who has been missing since 21 October. RSF suggested that police should not rule out the possibility that his disappearance is linked to his work as a journalist, while the IFJ is concerned that Ukrainian authorities have not solved the case. Kolomiyets, 44, has been a journalist since 1991 and in 1997 established the news agency Ukrayinski Novyny that specializes in economic news. Kolomiyets owns half the shares in the news agency; the rest are owned by the Agency for Humanitarian Technologies, run by Valeriy Khoroshkovskiy, who is close to President Leonid Kuchma. On 28 October, Ukrayinski Novyny disclosed the disappearance of Kolomiyets and claimed there was a possible link to his professional activities, since the news agency sometimes carries reports critical of the Ukrainian government. The police say Kolomiyets traveled from Ukraine to Belarus on 22 October and that on 28 October he contacted friends and family by telephone. According to police, Kolomiyets said he left Ukraine with a plan to commit suicide. Yet according to the RSF, his family says that in his phone calls Kolomiyets did not say he wanted to kill himself and was not depressed. His mother also denied police claims that she has been in "regular" contact with her son since his disappearance (see http://www.rsf.org).
JOURNALISTS' STRIKE COMMITTEE LEADER ASSAULTED IN KYIV. Danylo Yanevskiy, a prominent television journalist and leader of the Journalists' Strike Committee formed on 5 October, was assaulted on 6 November at about 11:00 p.m. in the Kyiv Metro, RFE/RL Ukrainian Service reported the following day. According to Professor Marta Dyczok, who is a Ukrainian media specialist at the University of Western Ontaria and a friend of the family, Yanevskiy was accosted by three men and one woman in their 20s as he got off the train in the city center. They grabbed Yanevskiy by the collar, swearing at him, then sent him to the ground with a punch to the jaw. Before police arrived, the attackers jumped onto another subway train and disappeared. Yanevskiy was not seriously hurt and could not say whether the attack was politically motivated or not. In the early 1990s, Yanevskiy was president of The Media Club, an earlier effort to unite journalists in a professional association. He recently left Channel 1+1 and is the former head of the Kyiv office of RFE/RL. CC
GOVERNMENT ACCUSES JOURNALISTS OF PRESSURE THROUGH ARTICLES ON FOREIGN POLICY. The state Information Policy, Television, and Radio Broadcasting Committee issued a statement on 28 October accusing some journalists of "pressuring Ukraine through publications on major foreign policy issues." ("Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations CIS Report," 28 October-2 November)
LVIV MOVES AGAINST WEBSITE FOR REPORT ON CRIMINAL CASE AGAINST PRESIDENT KUCHMA. The Lviv Oblast branch of the Interior Ministry ordered the Internet publication "Antiterror" to remove a report on the initiation of a criminal case against Ukrainian President Kuchma. On 26 October, the site's editor, Irena Tershak, received an order dated 16 October that she had been fired from her job. Two days later, unidentified individuals searched the publication's editorial offices and seized all its computer hardware. ("Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations CIS Report," 28 October-2 November)