Journalists scold Yushchenko for awarding Potebenko

14:18, 26 March 2007
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IFJ demands that President Yushchenko recall his decree

The International Federation of Journalists demands that President Yushchenko recall his decree on awarding former Prosecutor General Mykhaylo Potebenko the Order of Yaroslav Mudryi, according to Ukrayinska Pravda.

      In a letter of General Secretary of the federation Aidan White to the President, Mr. Potebenko was accused of failing the Gongadze case.

      “The International Federation of Journalists which represents more than 500 thousand journalists all over the world urges you to recall the decree on awarding Mr. Potebenko as he bears responsibility for failed investigation of the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze.

      “Along with numerous Ukrainian journalists and organizations on the freedom of speech, we ask you to recall the decree on awarding Mr. Potebenko to demonstrate to the country and the whole world that you stand up for the freedom of speech and journalists.”

      The journalists are indignant over the fact Mr. Potebenko ignored Mr. Gongadze’s complaint about undergoing prosecution and did not duly protect him.

      “As the Office of the Prosecutor General bears responsibility for protection of Ukrainian citizens and for negligence of Georgy’s complaint, Mr. Potebenko is undoubtedly guilty of tragic death of our colleague.

      “The failure of the Ukrainian procuracy in conducting thorough investigation of the murder led to bringing to nothing the significant improvement in the media freedom reached after 2004 presidential elections.”

      On February 2007 President Yushchenko awarded Mr. Potebenko Order of Yaroslav Mudryi for “outstanding personal contribution to development of rule-of-law state, strengthening law and order and longstanding conscientious work”.

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