State TV and radio channels once again receiving instructions on content


The gravestone visible in full says: The press under pressure (photo from Radio Svoboda)

A letter has been made public which suggests Ukraine’s leaders may have restarted the tradition under President Kuchma of “temnyky” – instructions from above on the material to be given coverage and how.

The letter was first posted by but has now been reprinted by a number of media outlets.  It is from the State Television and Radio Broadcasting Committee; signed by its Head, Oleksandr Kurdinovych, and sent to regional TV + Radio Companies [TRC]. It demands that they urgently broadcast special programmes from 15 March explaining President Yanukovych’s “social initiatives”.

The letter tells the heads of the TRC to create or adapt existing formats of TV or radio programmes and broadcast them from 15 March.  These should involve the heads or representatives of the local authorities, well-known specialists and be devoted to explaining and discussing the social initiatives which President Yanukovych announced at an extended meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on 7 March 2012.

Such programmes should be broadcast at least twice a week.

The TRC directors are ordered to report on the results of their work and the planned time of broadcasts by 16 March.

On the same day, 13 March, Oleksandr Polyvach sent all regional State TRC and the “Crimea” State TRC a letter asking them to give coverage in their evening news broadcasts or special sections of the following:

the meeting between Yanukovych and the President of Turkmenistan;

the meeting between Yanukovych, the Verkhovna Rada’s Speaker and leaders of parliamentary factions;

the meeting between Prime Minister Azarov and members of foreign companies working in Ukraine;

and others of a similar nature.

The Head of the State TV and Radio Broadcasting Committee, Oleksandr Kurdinovych confirmed the authenticity of the letter and that of Oleksandr Polyvach, but told Telekritika that he did not consider them to be “temnyky”.

He called his letter to the heads of the TRC “a normal usual document giving instructions”. “Within the framework of public orders for the production of programmes for State needs, where there is a large proportion of information and publicist programmes, we ask for such work to be organized since indeed, in our view, the President’s social initiatives, which he put forward at the extended meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers are extremely important for citizens of our country. And our citizens should be informed and know as much as possible about these initiatives”.

Kurdinovych added that this work was part of coverage of the authorities, and said it was neither the first nor the last such text.

He also asserted that his instructions are mandatory since this is a part of public commissioning.

Kurdinovych said that the letter from Oleksandr Polyvach giving a list of topics was about the State Committee helping the regional TRC.

He claims that all the above has nothing to do with temnyky, but is part of ordinary information work.

From a report at Telekritika

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