Birovash, a journalist of 'principles', is refusing to appear at defamation hearings following the publication he made.

As the Bagnet site reported earlier, in autumn 2007 the EDAPS Consortium filed a case with the Desnyansky District Court in Kiev against media company Blitz-Inform, its offshoot, a newspaper called the Business, and newspaper officials. The Consortium had to take legal action for slander and defamation following an article published in the Business.

By the way, besides the lawsuit brought by the Consortium against Blitz-Inform and the Business, a similar lawsuit was filed by Yuriy Sidorenko, founder of the Trustcor International Group and Chairman of the EDAPS Advisory Council. In his claim, Yuri Sidorenko demanded that allegations made by the Business newspaper are recognized as false. The plaintiff also asked the newspaper and its publisher to pay for moral damages of 46 million hryvnas.

On June 12, the Court of first instance satisfied fully plaintiffs' claims to recognize as false the publications made in the Business and signed by Birovash and satisfied partially plaintiff's claims regarding compensation. The Court ordered the Blitz-Inform (owned by Sergey Melnichuk against whom several criminal cases are pending) to pay 22 million hryvnas.

Legal actions did not go down well with the defendants, in particular, with the publication's author Maxim Birovash. He used all plausible pretexts to miss court hearings time and again. One day he was even caught lying. On the day Birovash did not appear before the court claiming he was sick, Birovash was found at his desk in the Business. Of course, such eagerness to follow up on the management orders can only be welcomed. But is it acceptable for a journalist claiming to fight for law and order not to give a damn about the law and judicial system of Ukraine?

Moreover, Birovash resorted to further wild allegations against the Consortium which won its case in the court of first instance. When following a party in the Business newspaper, a drunk Birovash became a victim of muggers he alleged that mugging was directly related to his professional activities. What was a commonplace robbery he saw as the 'conspiracy' and the 'instigation' of the EDAPS Consortium and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine (MIA). Birovash further alleged that some important papers evidencing wrongdoings of the MIA and EDAPS have been taken away. However, this lie of Birovash was quickly disproved when the muggers were detained shortly after the incident.

On the day following loud accusations by Birovash, the MIA officials made official statements in the mass media clarifying that the crime against Birovash had nothing to do with his professional activities. Assailants testified that they mugged Birovash seeing the drunk man as an easy prey. One of the muggers had a prior conviction for such a crime. On top of everything else it was also established that whilst filing a formal complaint with the police, Birovash listed only personal affects among the stolen items: mobile phones, jacket, money, etc. He never mentioned missing any documents in the police report.

The other day Birovash's unscrupulousness was reconfirmed. On July 15, there was a scheduled court hearing in the Consortium's lawsuit against the Blitz-Inform. Following a tradition, Birovash failed to turn up. According to the EDAPS Press office, in answering question of the judge about the whereabouts of Birovash, Y. Dombrovsky, representative of Blitz-inform, stated that Birovash had mailed his resignation to the Business. According to Dombrovsky's statement to the court, in response to phone calls about the failure of Birovash to come to court the latter replied that he would not come and that he was "...fed up with everything".

But what about the 'principled' position of Birovash who screamed that he was conducting high-profile investigations? Why did he refuse to defend his opinion before the court? Apparently, the journalist got fed up with the topic, resigned and left the newspaper to its own devices... The colors of young Ukrainian bourgeoisie were nicely used, abused and left at that. As it is, several criminal cases are pending against Sergey Melnichuk, owner of the Business newspaper, and on top of that there are libel and defamation lawsuits by the Consortium EDAPS.

According to some insiders, Birovash and those who covered his tracks inside the Business are running out of money they received for printing the defamatory article. So now, what's the point of dragging one's heels through the courts?

However, this time it seems Birovash cannot get off. According to the EDAPS Press office, the Judge of the Desnyansky District Court in Kiev ordered the Consortium to publish in the Uryadovy Kur'er newspaper summons ordering Maxim Birovash to appear at the court hearing at 10 a.m. on August, 19, 2008. I guess our colleagues-journalists should come to the hearing and listen to replies of such a 'principled' journalist!

Semen Borshchev



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