Tatyana Goryachova

Berdyansk Delovoy, Ukraine.

Among Goryachova’s stories that have angered city authorities are reports on the illegal firing of a nurse at the city hospital, on a director of the city’s best known kindergarten who was taking bribes and on the death of a young woman in a city hospital because doctors refused to listen to her complaints. Her story about the mayor’s plan to buy the public library so he could build a nightclub in its place so enraged the public that the mayor stopped the sale.

In January 2002, Berdyansk Delovoy, the newspaper she worked for, gave equal coverage to candidates in local elections, which enraged incumbents. Soon after that Sergey Belousov lost control of his car and crashed on a winding road, suffering a concussion. A later examination of the car revealed that the car’s brakes had been tampered with. Two weeks later, Goryachova was walking home from work when an assailant threw hydrochloric acid on her face. She suffered temporary blindness in her left eye. Police have not solved the case.

While Goryachova was in the United States for treatment in October 2002, her mother and daughter received threatening phone calls, warning Goryachova not to give interviews to the Western press. Goryachova decided that by remaining silent she would be giving in to her adversaries and took her story to the Associated Press and the Dallas Morning News.

Berdyansk Delovoy is also under constant financial pressure. Building and tax inspectors visit the publication often looking for offenses and to impose fines. The city pressures businesses to stop them from advertising with the newspaper. In August 2002 the paper’s printing company, which is owned by a friend of the mayor, tripled the newspaper’s printing costs. Through it all, Goryachova has remained steadfast.

Tatyana Goryachova is the second Courage in Journalism Award winner from Ukraine, following Lyubov Kovalevskaya (1991).

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