Since 2008 the English-language Kyiv Post, under the leadership of editor-in-chief Brian Bonner, has consistently uncovered corruption and cronyism in Ukraine’s highest circles, despite sometimes ferocious opposition from the oligarchs, officials and politicians on the receiving end of their reporting.
But on Monday, the paper’s owner, Syrian-born construction mogul Adnan Kivan—who also owns a TV station, Channel 7 in Odessa, where he is based—fired the entire Kyiv Post newsroom. Bonner says he was blindsided by the decision. As was the Ukrainian expat community.
Bonner has a long and colorful history of surviving disaster. In 2011, the New York Times reported on his refusal to kill a story critical of the Ukrainian agriculture minister (said to have been involved in a scandal known as “The Great Grain Robbery”); upon its publication he was summarily fired by then-owner Mohammad Zahoor. The newsroom went on strike in protest. Its reporters took their laptops to a city park from where they posted reports on the dispute via Facebook. Bonner was eventually reinstated.
In 2014, CJR reported on the Kyiv Post and its independence, citing an editorial in which Bonner had defended telling the truth about corruption and war to a group of angry businessmen.
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