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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Larysa IVSHYNA: “If the freedom is limited one should go as high as possible”

3 December, 2013 - 11:42
ALMOST TWO HOURS YOUNG PEOPLE FROM SUMY LISTENED TO THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF DEN / Photos by Mykola TYMCHENKO, The Day

Active and non-indifferent young people have always needed the open and serious communication with moral authorities, leaders of public opinion, experienced compatriots adhering to principles. There is no doubt that the students from the region of Sumy meet these criteria at full as nine years ago they were the accelerators of democratic changes in our country. It is no surprise that the announced meeting with Larysa IVSHYNA, the editor-in-chief of Den held in Sumy during the days of Den stirred a vivid interest of the youth. We remind our readers that Den started the tradition of such communication back in 1999 when Ivshyna was invited to speak in front of the students at the University of Nizhyn. Since then Ivshyna has attended the universities of Dnipropetrovsk, Lviv, Lutsk, Ostroh, Donetsk, and many other cities.

At the modern library building of the Ukrainian Academy of Banking at the National Bank of Ukraine there were hardly any free places during the meeting.

During the conversation Ivshyna presented the editions of Den’s Library series, the last of which, “Subversive Literature,” is in the university library, and the new edition of Route No.1 dedicated to Sumy. One of the main topics of the conversation were the recent political events, euromaidans that had appeared in different regions of the country including Sumy. Not limited by the exchange of their emotions, the interlocutors tried to comprehend the deep social and historical preconditions of the current situation. The special attention was paid to the role of the media: the high-quality and deep delivery of information and new meanings.

“In the Ukrainian mentality the rational thinking is predominated by the emotional one,” the editor-in-chief of Den emphasized in her welcome speech. “I have always said that Den is a newspaper of the progressive minority. Unlike our neighbors, historically the Ukrainians have not inherited any type of statehood and we need to work a lot to create a fundamentally new state. To make the global dreams come true we need to take small but regular steps and have a good ideological basis. The systemic crisis we can see today in any sphere (infrastructure, ideas, people) is very promising, but only if we immediately do a great intellectual work, clear our consciousness, and make necessary conclusions. Den’s Library we are presenting here today appeared as the first aid. It was supposed to throw light on the unknown chapters of the Ukrainian history and help form the historical memory of our society, which, I would like to remind, is in the post-genocide condition. I think that we managed to bring in the historical theme to the media. Once my surprised colleagues asked me how Den had managed to cooperate with the outstanding scientist James Mace. But he was unemployed at that time in Ukraine! However, today in Kyiv there is no either a monument to this person or even a street named in his honor. Unfortunately, it is also the truth about us and we have to draw conclusions from it. In my opinion, the most important event in the modern Ukrainian history is not the Orange Revolution, as many people think, but the political defeat of 1999 that determined the further course of events. At that time to help the thinking society rely on something Den started working on its numerous projects, in particular, on its Library.”

In the sincere and informal atmosphere the students, teachers, and the editor-in-chief of Den discussed the systemic diseases of the Ukrainian journalism and voiced different views on the mission and problems of a daily newspaper in Ukraine.

“I think that we managed to bring in the historical theme to the media. Once my surprised colleagues asked me how Den had managed to cooperate with the outstanding scientist James Mace. But he was unemployed at that time in Ukraine! However, today in Kyiv there is no either a monument to this person or even a street named in his honor. Unfortunately, it is also the truth about us and we have to draw conclusions from it.”

The first pro-rector of the university Alla Yarova perfectly performed the function of a moderator. Before the conversation started, she bestowed Larysa IVSHYNA an award given by the university to the people who have made a significant contribution into the cultural development of the Ukrainian students. In her turn the editor-in-chief of Den gave Alla Yarova a club kerchief of the newspaper in memory of the meeting. Traditionally, during the university discussion the authors of the most interesting questions received presents from the series the Library of Den. The honored citizen of Sumy Anatolii Yepifanov handed over 100 books Your Dead Have Chosen Me… by James Mace to the libraries of the region that suffered from the Holodomor nearly the most.

Ivan MOZHOVY, doctor of philosophy, Professor, head of the department of social and humanitarian disciplines of the Ukrainian Academy of Banking at the National Bank of Ukraine:

“How does Den manage to overcome the financial difficulties and barriers set by the Ukrainian authorities?”

L.I.: “Today I would not like to complain, we, Ukrainians, like doing it too much. I will give you only one example. In 1999 Den was the only newspaper that was against electing Kuchma for the second term. In our office we had a room for the tax inspector who lived with us for half of a year. Interestingly, she developed the Stockholm syndrome, she shared our drive for justice and accepted that we were right. I believe that if the freedom is being limited, one should go as high as possible. Our government does not consider those who fly as high as strategical bombers to be a threat. I think that the Library of Den is ruining the regime by pulling the bricks from the bottom. Without our ancestors’ intellectual heritage we will always be recruiters for black councils, revolts and defeats that, unfortunately, make our history. Intelligentsia has to constantly work with the people. I have always tried to wake people’s interest to some topics and ideas, but everyone has to make their own choice. I admit that it is quite difficult to find partners for this strategy but we manage to do that. We have to make a high-quality product in which people will believe and will want to invest. Route No.1 is an example of such project in which serious and deep content coincided with an effective business model. I believe that strong, efficient and rich Ukrainians have to become intelligent and vice versa: the intellectuals have to be rich. This is the policy of the future.”

Volodymyr LAVSKY, student of the department of journalism and philology at Sumy State University:

“Do you share the opinion that universities have to deal with the theoretical component of the journalism and the practical preparation of the journalists should be effectuated by newspaper offices and information agencies?”

L.I.: “This is what we do in Den: in the Summer School we prepare the journalists. Working with young people is much easier. I think that it is not enough just to hope for the young generation as many people do, we have to educate it. The Ukrainian journalistic education is still strongly influenced by the Soviet traditions that do not correspond to the real needs. That is why very few graduates of faculties of journalism work within their profession. Instead, most of them dream of becoming press-secretaries. We have to finally decide what country we want to build and which country we are preparing the journalists for. The journalism without understanding of historical and social context is just a mechanic. We have to comprehend the function of the media in transitional democracies. Until we do this the significant part of my colleagues will think that journalists do not need to have any civic position! However, if a journalist does not have it, the journalism turns into the service for politicians. Besides, we have to admit that there is no request for high-quality journalism in the Ukrainian society. Instead, the media community does not accept any rules of the game and remains as closed for the outer world as the political set. By the way, in Japan the faculties of journalism do not exist at all. However, newspapers there have million editions as they have a habit of reading and an environment forming the demand. We should follow Japan’s example and combine modern principles with healthy conservatism. We have to preserve scientific bases there where they exist, but we have to also change the context and the country. Without society’s request for quality the journalists will not have a job. All of this makes a complex task for universities and the young.”

“Today I have felt a very warm atmosphere,” Larysa Ivshyna admitted with pleasure and at the end of the conversation she encouraged the students from Sumy not to be indifferent and join the projects of Den.

By Roman HRYVINSKY
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