Sunday, May 13, 2012

And now the news - 67 years ago there was a war

Ukrainian tv viewers take the blue pill --- A few months ago it was still noticeable that Ukrainian news programmes on major networks were continuing to cover all the major news stories, in contrast to Russia where major events such as mass protests and terrorist attacks are completely absent from the country's tv screens. There was perhaps pro-government bias in evidence, but not the complete absence of these events from the news. That has now all changed. More recently the main news programme on Ukraine's most popular television channel, Russian language channel INTER, seems totally devoid of serious news. --- In the most absurd example, the Easter Day broadcast contained a feature lasting a good 15 minutes or so about Easter Island, solely for the fact that it's named after Easter. It was very nice, interesting even, but by no remote stretch of the imagination could it be considered news. --- It was of course the 9th May last Wednesday, Victory Day, and as expected, commemorations have continued to be higher profile, and distinctly re-Sovietised from the more low key commemorations of previous times. It seems to be having the 'desired effect', with plenty of people this year sporting the Dundee United coloured ribbons on bags and cars. On the 9th May itself it's perhaps understandable, but 'Great Patriotic War' related items have fronted the news every day for the past week. It can hardly be called news. --- One worries that the powers in control of the media would like Ukrainians to take the blue pill, to disengage their minds from the serious issues facing the country. After all, many of these news items are interesting, and seem harmless enough, and bad news can be very fatiguing in a country that has plenty of it. To me, however, this is very saddening. People here are already isolated enough. --- Today the issues relating to Tymoshenko's hospital treatment eventually made it on around 16 minutes into the broadcast, and there was even a statement from the opposition. Protests against Putin in Russia were also featured. Perhaps there is still hope.

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