Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

Absence of information is information too. Viktor Medvedchuk, whose name associates with the word “temnik”, disappeared from “temniks” and TV screens


This conclusion was made by the experts of the Academy of the Ukrainian press and the Institute of sociology of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Every first week of every month the experts monitor the contents of six basic all-Ukrainian TV channels: “YT-1”, “1+1”, “Inter”, “Novy kanal”, “ICTV” and “STB”.

Yet, this conclusion is the only “sensation” of the monitoring. Everything else is quite usual:

-  all TV channels have the similar “agenda”;

-  there are very few references to the sources of information;

-  the alternative viewpoints are absent in the majority of news;

-  the news are biased.

This opinion was expressed by Valeriy Ivanov, the president of the Academy of the Ukrainian press, after the November monitoring of TV channels.

A month ago Makeev wrote that news of the Ukrainian TV channels were the news “about state officials and organizations of officials” got from the same officials.

Naturally, the situation has not changed during the month: the “great politics” demonstrated on the TV screens is rather the politics of state institutions and persons than the politics of parties and fractions.

There is only one change: in November the center of attention shifted from the President (18.5%) to the Supreme Rada (21.2%). At that the frequency of mentions of the latter increased almost twice (in October this number was 11.8%).

The second place in the rating of mentioning is occupied by the force structures (20.9% of messages). Maybe that happened because of the replacement of the General Prosecutor and the attempt at Kisel, and maybe the USS and militia are active newsmakers.

As to the mentioning of individual political figures, the current situation in Ukraine changed this proportion very much in November.

It is known that the active resistance to the conduction of the forums of “Our Ukraine” was observed in the beginning of the past month, and this fact caused the corresponding response of the opposition in the Supreme Rada. There were also some troubles connected with the appointments of new General Prosecutor and vice-speaker; scandal in the Union of writers; release from custody of Pukach, the witness in Gongadze’s case, and the explosion of the car of gangster Kisel.

So, the political pattern of the news may be described as follows:

1)  Ukrainian-Russian relations/ Tuzla Peninsula – 6% (the main event)

2)  Current events in the Supreme Rada/crisis in the Supreme Rada – 5.2%

3)  Explosion of Kisel’s car – 3.7%

4)  Political reform – 3.5%

5)  Conflict in the Union of writers – 2.7%

6)  Appointment of new General Prosecutor – 2.5%

7)  Events in Donetsk – 2.2%

8)  Actions of 7 November – 2.2%

9)  Gongadze’s case – 0.5%

These events, in the opinion of experts, are the basic ones and make from 22% to 40% of all news about Ukraine.

Thus, in spite of the attempts of opposition to stress on the importance of the Donetsk events for democracy in our country, all six TV channels represented these events as something local and insignificant, connected only with “Our Ukraine”.

Speaker Volodymir Litvin became the leader of the personal rating in the beginning of the month (13.7%). One of his remarks was: “Continue to block, if you want!”. This remark was addressed to the members of opposition, who blocked the rostrum in Parliament.

The second place was given to Raisa Bogatyriova with her ardent speech: “Donetsk oblast is a hospitable land. When people come to us with open heart, we are always happy. But if the intentions are bad – the Donetsk is severe”.

Yushchenko got only 3.1%. His propositions: “The first step – to listen to the information of the ministers of force structures and of education. The second step – to form a special investigating commission. The third step – to conduct the closed sitting of the Supreme Rada on the political situation”.

As always, journalists were interested in the opinions of coordinator of the majority Stepan Gavrish -- 5.6%; leader of communists Petro Simonenko – 5.2%; communist Sergiy Kriuchkov – 4.6%; member of the social-democratic party Nestor Shufrich – 4.4%; Oleksandr Volkov – 3.5% and President’s representative Oleksandr Zadorozhny – 2.8%. The floor was also given to some other representatives of the opposition: leader of socialists Oleksandr Moroz (2.7%); members of “Our Ukraine” Yuri Kostenko and Igor Ostash (2.7% each) and socialist Valentina Semeniuk (2.6%).

All in all, the opposition managed, for the first time during many months, to run the informational blockade. The share of the attention to the opposition increased up to one third on all TV channels except “YT-1”. Yet, such “informational progress” is not so good as it seems: almost all information about the opposition was negative.

The greatest amount of ironical or negative information concerned “Our Ukraine” (7.2%).

Along with Yushchenko’s block, the TV channels also mentioned the following political parties:

CPU – 6.2% positive or neutral mentioning and 1.3% ironical-negative;

PPU-TU – 1.3% and 0%, respectively;

SDPU (u) – 4.5% and 0.8%;

Regions of Ukraine – 5.5% and 0%;

SPU – 5.0% and 1.5%;

Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc – 2.0% and 0.5%;

PNP– 1% and 0%.

As to the political figures, Bogatyriova and Grishchenko were represented neutrally; Yanukovich, Simonenko, Gavrish and Litvin -- almost neutrally; Vasylyev, Yushchenko and Moroz – negatively.

In general, the news are biased. In comparison with October, in November the part of such “one-sided” news has become greater – 84%. 93% of news on “YT-1” reflect only one point of view. The corresponding numbers for other channels are: “Inter” – 88%, “ICTV” – 83%, “1+1” – 81%, “Novy kanal” – 79% and “STB” –73%.

And last but not least. Now the topic of coming Presidential election becomes more and more popular. At the same time, the proportion of “good” news also increases, especially on “YT-1” and “Inter” – more than 40%.

Maybe, this is a coincidence? Or we will copy the situation that formed in Russia before the election, when it seemed that all criminals were caught and the ruling party was doing its best to improve the life of people?

(«Ukrainska Pravda», 9 December 2003)

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