CPJ concerned about alleged death threat against editor

New York, February 19, 2003—Vira Kytaihorodska, editor-in-chief of the twice-weekly newspaper Bukovynske Viche in the western city of Chernivtsi, said that a local government official has threatened to kill her for republishing an article on February 7 that accused Chernivtsi regional governor Teofil Bauer of corruption and violating customs regulations.

The official, deputy head of the Chernivtsi Regional Council, Ivan Muntian, told CPJ that he did not threaten Kytaihorodska. He said that he called the editor to ask why she had reprinted the article without fact-checking the claims made in it.

The original article appeared in the January 29 edition of the Reporter, a newspaper based in the neighboring city of Ternopil.

On February 14, Kytaihorodska sent a letter to Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma and Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun requesting protection in response to the threat.

A local police official confirmed that Kytaihorodska’s letter and claims were being reviewed to determine whether they warrant an official investigation.