Ukrainian broadcasters crossing over to opposition

by Sietse Bakker 55 views

While the fifth night of heavy protests against election fraud in Kiev is passing, Ukrainian television broadcasters cross over to support opposition candidate Yushchenko, even state-owned media. Meanwhile, Eurovision Song Contest winner Ruslana still continues with her hunger strike.

1+1 removed editor from news programmes
According to our colleagues from the Kyiv Post, privately owned television channel 1+1 announced that journalist Vyacheslav Pikhovshek had been removed as editor of the broadcaster's news programs. In a recent survey under Western journalists it appeared that Pikhovshek is the 'least trusted journalist of Ukraine'. Though, he can continue to work as author of Epitsenter, a weekly political analysis programme. “News programs on 1+1 virtually disappeared earlier this week, after journalists and editors and the channel went on strike in protest of alleged pressure from management and certain political forces to produce biased media coverage that favored Kuchma and allies”, the Kyiv Post states. 1+1 said that they �guarantee that all information distributed by our channel will be complete, in accordance with professional standards of journalism”.

Previous coverage not objective
One of the privately owned Ukrainian broadcasters started its news coverage yesterday with the statement saying that they would resume news reports but promised they would be objective, explaining that “previous editorial policy was not so, due to political pressure”.

2005 host broadcaster NTU
Several journalists at state-owned television channel NTU, host broadcaster for next year's Eurovision Song Contest, also joined the strike opposition candidate Yushchenko called for. It's unknown if the organisation team for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest joined their striking colleagues. NTU's coporate website was scheduled to be launched on the 22nd of November and still shows this announcement. The website of NTU's first channel is, at least outside Ukraine, unavailable, just like NTU's official 2005 Eurovision Song Contest site Reliable Ukrainian sources told that the organisation of the contest is not in danger and that it's just a matter of priorities these websites are not yet available.

“News programs have not been frequent, possibly an indication that these channels have tried to ignore the growing protests”, Kyiv Post writes, explaining that growing resistance of journalists limited their capability to report on the tense political situation in Ukraine.

Growing support in both camps
Although Western media particulary focus on the growing support for opposition candidate Yushchenko, his opponent Yanukovych, currently the prime minister of Ukraine who claims to be winner of the presidential elections, also attracts more and more people to come to join him in Kiev. As Ukraine is a big country and his support comes from the eastern part of the country, it took some time for Yanukovych supporters to reach the capital. Yushchenko's support is still in majority, but there are no reliable figures about the amount of people who joined the strikes and protests. Current Ukrainian president Kuchma warned for 'a civil war' if supporters from both camps do not stop their protests.

World politics
Russian president Vladimir Putin met leaders of the European Union today in The Hague (the Netherlands) to discuss cooperation issues between Russia and Europe, but the current situation in Ukraine became the major issue of the meeting. While EU leaders urged Ukraine again to revise the outcome of the elections, Putin congratulated Yanukovych with his victory again, after he withdrew his best wishes earlier this week. Though, both Russia and the EU hope the situation can be ended without violence.

Yushchenko's official complaint at Ukraine's highest court has been approved, until further investigation the publication of any official election results is not permitted. Meanwhile, the Ukranian people in the streets of Kiev still manage to demonstrate in a peaceful way, something that deserves respect!

Previous articles about the situation in Ukraine
24-11 » Situation in Ukraine still unstable
24-11 » Ruslana on hunger strike!
23-11 » Stockselius to Ukraine next week

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