Donetsk television station seized to provide "correct" - Russian - coverage has reported that the pro-Russian protesters who seized the Donetsk regional TV and radio station earlier on Sunday have left the premises. Since no other media have reported this, it is unclear where they have their information from, and it seems likely that the TV channel is still in the control of the pro-Russian protesters who object to the channel’s “wrong coverage”.

At a rally on Sunday afternoon,  protesters were told that their people were not being given broadcasting time.  300 - 500 of them set off for the television station which they appear to have seized without any serious resistance from the police.  

The TV centre’s general director, Oleh Dzholos told Telekritika that the staff were working under the surveillance of men in camoflauge.  He confirmed that the police had simply stood and watched, without interfering.  In fairness, even though security  had been stepped up after an attempt to seize the centre on April 7, any police and guards were heavily outnumbered.

Dzholos said that protesters had brought a Rossiya 24 technician who would be replacing the Ukrainian channels with Russian ones. The protesters had complained that Donetsk television was telling lies about them.  The solution they see is to have Russian TV instead.

The Rossiya channels have been exposed any number of times as concerned more with pushing the specific line taking by the Kremlin in relation to events in Ukraine, rather than accuracy (see, for example, Russian channels caught lying.) The slogans heard at pro-Russian demonstrations and the fact that journalists and others taken hostage are interrogated about imagined links to Right Sector, suggest that at least some of the protesters genuinely believe the doctored version of events which these pro-Kremlin channels give.

It is significant that the Crimean leaders installed after Russian soldiers in unmarked uniform seized government buildings in Simferopol also moved swiftly to cut off Ukrainian sources of information and install Russian channels. In eastern Ukraine, the pro-Russian militants have on many occasions shown particular antagonism to journalists.  Journalists of Ukrainian or western channels, that is, with self-proclaimed “people’s mayor” and others more than happy to speak to Russian media.

Halya Coynash

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