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UKRAINIAN JOURNALIST ACCUSES PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION OF STIFLING MEDIA... Addressing a parliamentary hearing on the freedom of expression on 4 December (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 December 2002), the nascent Independent Trade Union of Journalists' Kyivan leader Andriy Shevchenko described a policy whereby the presidential administration effectively dictates news coverage through unsigned cues sent to media outlets, the "Ukrayinska pravda" website reported. He said such prompts, or "temnyky," detail what news and in what manner the presidential administration wishes to see information reported in newspapers and on radio and television. "In actual fact, television news coverage in Ukraine is made in a remote-control mode. Someone else, not journalists, edits news programs, shoots and disseminates videos, writes texts, and selects comments by governors, which are subsequently sent to all channels," Shevchenko said. "Let us admit honestly: Instead of news coverage, Ukraine gets lies. Because every half-truth is a lie, and there should be no illusions about that." Shevchenko proposed that media legislation be amended to broaden the definition of illegal interference in journalistic activities and toughen sanctions for such interference. JM

...AND NEWS AGENCY'S EDITOR PROVIDES MORE DETAILS. Oleksandr Kharchenko, editor in chief of the UNIAN news agency, said at the same hearing that authorities have recently begun "taming" Ukrainian news agencies to encourage a certain manner of reportage, UNIAN reported. According to Kharchenko, UNIAN's pluralistic information policy has undergone change since the appointment of Executive Director Vasyl Yurychko earlier this year (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 and 4 October 2002). Kharchenko said Yurychko has limited journalists' opportunities to present differing points of view in their news coverage and initiated a policy of publication that can be construed as politically biased. Deputy Prime Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk proposed setting up a working group comprising lawmakers, government officials, and journalists to propose amendments to media legislation. JM

UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION TO CONTINUE EFFORTS TO OUST KUCHMA. Three opposition leaders -- Yuliya Tymoshenko, Petro Symonenko, and Oleksandr Moroz -- pledged on 4 December to continue the "Rise Up, Ukraine!" protest campaign to force President Leonid Kuchma to resign, UNIAN reported. The upcoming stage of the campaign will be called "Releasing Ukraine from Kuchma," they added. The three leaders told journalists they will soon begin touring Ukrainian regions to persuade citizens that it is necessary to continue fighting "the criminal regime headed by Leonid Kuchma." The opposition also intends to stage a nationwide strike on 9 March. JM