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OPEN SEASON ON JOURNALISTS? The assaults of three reporters in Donetsk last week are causing media to wonder if they are under concerted attack, Hromadske Radio reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 August 2003). Eduard Malynovskyy, a correspondent for the online edition of "Ostrov," was severely beaten and hospitalized on 15 August by five unidentified persons as he left a cafe after a soccer broadcast, pravda.ru reported on 16 August. As with other incidents, police attribute the attack to "hooliganism." The assailants did not take Malynovskyy's cash or ID. The Ukrainian Mass Information Institute, which is affiliated with the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, said the attack could be related to Malynovskyy's critical coverage of oligarch Rinat Ahmetov. Within a day, Serhiy Kuzin, a freelance correspondent for the Kyiv online edition of the regional newspaper "Aktsent," who had followed up on the story of the attack at the cafe, was himself beaten near a soccer club and suffered cracked bones in both legs and his right arm. The assailants seized his mobile phone and briefcase. Vasilii Vasyutin, deputy editor in chief of the magazine "Zolotoi Skif," was beaten with a rubber club and his phone was taken. Police have said that they believe the attacks are the work of common criminals and are not related, but journalists fear they are being targeted for their critical coverage. CAF
POLISH-LANGUAGE RADIO TO START BROADCASTING IN UKRAINE Polish-Ukrainian Radio MAN is to launch broadcasting in Lviv in western Ukraine in the fall, PAP reported on 8 August. The program, prepared by Polish and Ukrainian journalists, will be broadcast half in Polish and half in Ukrainian. Radio MAN plans to broadcast music, political journalism, and news. The station's format includes programs on culture, history, problems faced by the Polish minority in Ukraine and the Ukrainian minority in Poland, but it will earn revenues from advertising. State radio's Polish Radio Katowice, which is currently training 10 journalists for MAN, has for years backed an initiative on launching the station. The broadcasts will initially cover a radius of 50 kilometers, but its founders are reportedly thinking of expanding its range. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 12 August 2003).
PRO-YUSHCHENKO ASSOCIATION EMERGES IN UKRAINE. A meeting of 74 delegates from Ukraine's 24 regions created an all-Ukrainian association called For Ukraine! For Yushchenko! in Kyiv on 21 August, UNIAN reported. Delegates elected Our Ukraine lawmaker Yuriy Yekhanurov to head the association. Yekhanurov told journalists that the association is intended to help Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine broaden its influence. According to Yekhanurov, the association will be based on regional "civic centers that want to support [Yushchenko's] initiatives regarding the democratic reconstruction of our country." Yushchenko, who was elected an honorary chairman of the association, warned the congress that the political reform proposed by President Leonid Kuchma might be modified in the near future. "The authorities might propose that the president be elected in the parliament by a subjugated, undemocratic majority," Yushchenko said. "In the next few days, we might become witnesses to Byzantine politics, under which the two political-reform drafts [one proposed by Kuchma and the other by opposition lawmakers] will be withdrawn from the Constitutional Court, and a third draft that is even more Jesuitical [than the previous two] will be submitted," he added (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 19 August 2003). JM
UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES REPORTEDLY WORK WITH COMMUNISTS, SOCIALISTS ON JOINT POLITICAL-REFORM DRAFT. Communist Party (KPU) leader Petro Symonenko and Socialist Party (SPU) leader Oleksandr Moroz told journalists in Kyiv on 21 August that the presidential administration and the opposition are working on a joint bill of amendments to the constitution intended to reform the political system in Ukraine, Interfax reported. "The latest consultations with experts, including presidential administration head Viktor Medvedchuk, have shown that there is no more talk about simultaneous [presidential, parliamentary, and local] elections, or the appointment of some ministers by the president, as was proposed by the authority," Moroz said. He said that a key innovation is the presidential administration's proposal that the Verkhovna Rada elect the president. Meanwhile, Symonenko said the communists want the current election law to apply to the 2004 presidential election, but want to reduce the president's mandate from four to two years. Symonenko added that a new parliament, if elected under a fully proportional system, could elect a new president in 2006. JM
POLISH LAWMAKERS SAY PROSECUTORS LIED TO RYWINGATE COMMISSION. Jan Maria Rokita and Jacek Ziobro, opposition members of the parliamentary commission investigating the Rywingate scandal (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 14 January, 18 February, and 29 April 2003), told journalists on 21 August that they were deceived by prosecutors responsible for the parallel criminal investigation, Polish media reported. Rokita and Ziobro claim that prosecutors Karol Napierski and Zenon Kapusta lied when they assured the commission in early March that a plan for the investigation of the Rywingate affair existed but that the commission could not have it. According to both lawmakers, such a plan was worked out no earlier than in April. "If the commission is lied to by witnesses, well, we have somehow managed to get used to that. But if it is lied to by the prosecutor's office, actions are needed by the speaker of the Sejm," Polish Television quoted Rokita as saying. Deputy Prosecutor-General Kazimierz Olejnik said Rokita and Ziobro do not have the right to evaluate the activities of prosecutors and accused the lawmakers of manipulating public opinion. JM