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Kyiv Post Owner Fires Entire Newsroom

November 8 – KyivPost.com online site issued a notice that the newspaper would close immediately “for a short time.” Adnan Kivan, Kyiv Post owner was quoted, saying: “One day, we hope to reopen the newspaper bigger and better. I thank the entire Kyiv Post team and Brian Bonner for his service to Ukraine and independent journalism in the past 25 years.”

A few hours later, Kyiv Post deputy editor-in-chief Olga Rudenko shared a post on Facebook stating that the journalists “were all fired, effective immediately.”

Three weeks ago, Kyiv Post owner and Odesa construction tycoon Adnan Kivan announced to KP staff that he planned to expand the brand and launch a Ukrainian-language version. This plan and the appointment of a hand-picked chief editor to head this new section were an unwelcome surprise to the KP newsroom, who were suspicious that it was an attempt to infringe on their editorial independence.

Rudenko’s statement finished with a call to “readers and advertisers, businessmen, diplomats, international organizations, and everyone else who believes in independent journalism” to support the newsroom staff.

Several well-known Ukrainian journalists and experts (e.g. Anna Babinets, Slidstvo.info; Sevgil Musayeva, Ukrayinska Pravda; Natalia Ligacheva, Detector Media) said they had heard allegations that the real reason for the closure was that the owner caved to pressure from the Office of the President, unhappy with KP over critical coverage of the government.

Serhiy Nykyforov, the president’s press secretary, published a post on Facebook saying: “The news was also a surprise to us.” He also expressed hope that “Kyiv Post will resume its work soon following its high standards and style, which put it at the highest level among the Ukrainian media.” However, Slidstvo.info journalist Liubomyra Remazhevska noted that Telegram Channels connected to the Office of the President only shared news about Kyiv Post closure that left out details of pressure on journalists.

Kyiv Post is the longest standing English-language weekly newspaper in Ukraine. The newspaper’s first print edition came out on October 18, 1995 and KP went online in 1997. The Kyiv Post has had three owners in its existence: American Jed Sunden, who owned the newspaper from its inception in 1995 until 2009; Mohammad Zahoor from the UK, who held the paper from 2009 until March 21, 2018, when he sold to Ukrainian citizen Adnan Kivan, an Odesa-based businessman who owns the KADORR Group. Adnan Kivan bought the newspaper for $3.5 million. KADORR Group operates in construction, agriculture, commercial property, residential complexes, and fitness centers. KADORR owns Kyiv Post and Odesa-based TV Channel 7.

More in Detector Media in Ukrainian.

 

Photo credit: #SaveKyivPost