Editor beaten in Kyiv

New York, April 10, 2006—Unidentified men beat Vladimir Katsman, the editor-in-chief of the Stolichniye Novosti (Capital News) publishing house, as he returned home in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on April 8, local and international press reported.

“I definitely believe the attack was linked to my work,” Katsman told the online newspaper Gazeta Po-Kyivsky from his hospital bed. Katsman said he had written about electoral fraud in March 26 parliamentary elections, and anti-Semitic books published and distributed by the country’s largest private university, the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management.

Two men attacked Katsman Saturday evening outside his apartment building. One struck him over the head with a bat, the local press reported. He was taken to Kyiv city hospital with head injuries and a broken arm.

Investigators from the Pecherski district police interviewed Katsman and are seeking two men in their 20s. Police opened a criminal investigation under the charge of “hooliganism” and said the motive of the attack was still not clear.

Katsman is also editor-in-chief of several newspapers—Stolichniye Novosti (Capital News), Stolichka (Little Capital), VEK (Century) and several Internet publications.

Stolichniye Novosti publishing house is part of Media International Group, which is owned by Ukrainian businessman and Jewish leader Vadim Rabinovich, who offered a 100,000 htyvna (US$ 1,894) reward for information leading to the arrest of the assailants, Gazeta Po-Kyivsky reported.

Press freedom conditions in Ukraine improved after President Viktor Yushchenko came to power in January 2005, but journalists continue to face attack in retaliation for their work. See CPJ’s letter of March 24.