Hacks on the edge

WHAT LINKS the westernmost edge of the UK and the Wild East of Europe? Journalists get killed and no-one is brought to book. Yet.

On 16 September NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear headed a delegation to Ukraine's UK ambassador, Ihor Prokopchuk, over the kidnap of Gyorgy Gongadze on 16 September 2000 and his murder soon after. Members gathered outside the Embassy - see photo below.

NUJ delegation outside the Ukrainian Embassy on 16 September

The Ambassador promised a new enquiry into the murder of the independent internet journalist and general thorn in the side of Ukraine's establishment. He said it would look at the evidence of tapes suggestive at least of complicity by President Kuchma and senior officials. He threw doubt, however, on co-operation with an independent international inquiry organised through the Council of Europe, which the NUJ and other journalists' organisations are demanding.

And four days later the General Secretary met the Police Service of Northern Ireland to press the union's disappointment with lack of progress in catching the killers of Martin O'Hagan. Martin was shot outside his home in Lurgan on 28 September 2001. As a reporter for the Sunday World he had investigated the activities of Loyalist groups, including drug-dealing and alleged links with UK security services.

Chief Superintendent Jonathan McIvor stressed that the investigation was active. He denied any lack of co-operation from the security services. The problem seems - to the Freelance at least - not to be establishing who was present when Martin was murdered, but getting enough evidence to arrest or charge.

Last modified: 14 October 2002 - © 2002 contributors
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