Category Archives: tv

Ukraine’s only independent TV stations to be taken off the air by Yanukovych government

Last month I posted that Ukrainians who want independent and fair TV news coverage only had Channel 5 (Kanal 5) and TVi left. Channel 5 played a crucial role during the Orange revolution and TVi was set up by a Russian media tycoon who was the first victim of Vladimir Putin’s squeeze on media in Russia. Recently a court has stripped them of their new broadcast frequencies:

The board claimed that the court hearing was being influenced by Ukrainian Security Service head Valery Khoroshkovsky. Khoroshkovky owns the rival media holding Inter Media Group, which has asked for a new tender for frequencies. Khoroshkovsky strongly denied exerting pressure on Channel 5 and demanded proof of the allegations made by its editorial board.

"What kind of direct proof one can have, other than the fact that Khoroshkovsky is one of the owners of Inter Media Group? He is the chief of the security service, a member of the Higher Council of Justice. His wife is the manager of Inter Media Group. Here you have double standards," Roman Skypin, a journalist who heads TVi’s information service, said in an interview with RFE/RL.

As a result TVi will remain a satellite channel with little coverage in Ukraine, and Channel 5, whose licence allows it to be mainly about entertainment, may not be able to retain its news programmes.

It’s not surprising that independent media would start to disappear when the Yanukovych government decided to sack the current head of the SBU (secret service) and replace him with a rival television network and media empire owner. It is clearly a conflict of interest and journalists are vying for an independent parliamentary commission to investigate as well as Khoroshkovsky’s dismissal.

The development follows weeks of growing complaints by journalists about the resurgence of censorship and heightens fears that a Kremlin-styled crackdown on media freedoms could be in the works five months into the presidency of the Moscow-friendly Viktor Yanukovich.

Oleh Rybachuk, a former presidential administration chief turned civic activist, said “censorship is re-emerging, and the opposition is not getting so much coverage. There are similarities to what [Vladimir] Putin did when he came to power. We are seeing Putin-style attempts to monopolise power.”

In 2012 Ukraine makes the transition to digital broadcast television, in which all the old analog channels will discontinue and TV stations must re-apply for these new digital frequencies. Telekritika, a media watchdog news website and magazine commented in her Kyiv Post interview ‘Power wants monopoly’:

TVi had prepared the frequency for itself. It is common practice here that after that there has to be a tender held. By agreement with the National Council and all market players, the initiator has historically received the most frequencies. But they had to share with others, too.
But Inter Group claimed most of these frequencies – and that’s unfair. [Having understood that the claim would not be satisfied], they withdrew their application, and then filed a lawsuit. It’s not very clear why.


The desire of the new power to control and monopolize television is visible through many of its actions and through the quality of the news we have.

Khoroshkovsky is a member of the High Council of Justice. In any democratic country, undoubtedly, this kind of a court hearing, with major procedural violations, simply could not happen.


Another point is that something needs to be changed at the National TV and Radio Council. These sorts of commercial disputes lead to the loss of news channels. This shows inadequate work of the National Council, which has to make sure that we have information channels, public TV and that the needs for Ukrainian-language media are satisfied. But it has never done it in a civilized way.

And finally some background on television and politics in Ukraine:

During the Presidency of President Kuchma Ukrainian television was more or less controlled by Kuchma while the Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (united) controlled Inter TV[1]. After the Orange Revolution Ukrainian television became more free. In February 2009 the National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting claimed that "political pressure on mass media increased in recent times through amending laws and other normative acts to strengthen influence on mass media and regulatory bodies in this sphere".

As of January 2009 Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko refused to appear in Inter TV-programmes "until journalists, management and owners of the TV channel stop destroying the freedom of speech and until they remember the essence of their profession – honesty, objectiveness, and unbiased stand".

Members of Ukraine’s media have banded together to form the ‘Stop Censorship!’ movement to protest these actions of flagrant censorship.


Holodomor to make US cable debut tomorrow

Tomorrow at 5pmET on FOX News, Glenn Beck will air his first documentary ‘Revolutionary Holocaust, now: Live Free or Die’ on his show to ‘set out to correct progressive lies’, as announced on his national radio show:

A groundbreaking hour long special where Glenn Beck takes us back in time to examine the roots of socialism and communism and the evil that followed. We all know about the horrors of the holocaust where the pure evil Hitler inspired claimed the lives of millions of innocent people. But most do not know about the millions upon millions of lives lost in a different genocide of the Ukrainian people under the Stalin regime. This special also takes a look behind the iconic fashion symbol of Che Guevara showing that the myth doesn’t tell the story of the man who was a blood thirsty killer. We meet a family who saw first hand what a monster the man was. They know the cost of communism and you will too when you hear their story, and who can forget about Mao Zedong? A leader responsible for 70-million deaths during his reign. All communist. All killers. We will show you things you’ve never seen but need to. a

An impressive line-up of Holodomor experts:

Watch it on Canadian TV:

  • Bell ExpressVu – Ch. 507
  • Rogers Digital – Ch. 181
  • for other TV subscribers you’re on your own to find FOX news, often abbreviated ‘FOXNC’ on TV Guide listings

You might even be able to watch it online live!


Ukrainian on Corner Gas

I was watching a Corner Gas marathon yesterday (a popular Canadian comedy), and noticed this episode which had a strong Ukrainian theme:

When Emma gives Brent flack over his coffee drinking, he vows to quit cold turkey if she quits knitting. As Brent struggles in a caffeine-free world, Emma takes up a new pastime with Oscar to counter her knitting needle withdrawal. But the cure may be worse than the addiction. To keep Emma preoccupied, she and Oscar go to a Ukrainian festival where Oscar gets hooked on the culture. Meanwhile Davis and Karen start a ride-along program that becomes a little too popular and Hank is at the mercy of his new electronic organizer. (Season 3 Episode 4: Dog River Vice)

They filmed this episode in the Fall of 2005 with the help of Regina’s Tavria Ukrainian Folk Dance Ensemble:


Ukrainian food on Mad Men

I flipped on a Mad Men marathon yesterday on TV and came across a scene that caught my attention:

I did a quick search on it and the character Paul Kinsey (played by Michael Gladis) has a love for Ukrainian food after all:

Q: What’s up with Paul and Ukrainian food?

A: I did a movie in Russia and didn’t realize how Russian I look, even more specifically, how Ukrainian I look until I was over there. Even though I’m mostly Irish, I do have some Ukrainian or Russian heritage. I don’t know if it was a reference to that. It’s also an inside joke with one of the AMC executives, Vlad Wolynetz, who’s Ukrainian. And I think it’s just a hilarious go-to pick-up line.


Ukrainian, no wait Russian, err… well at least they mention ‘the Ukraine’ on 30 Rock

Just starting watching 30 Rock, and saw this gem on Season 1 Episode 10:


Jack is on the phone with Maureen Dowd when Tracy shows up asks him for $100,000. Jack tells him that this is not possible, but says that he has a better idea: use his celebrity image to endorse a product. After Tracy agrees, he comes up with "The Tracy Jordan Meat Machine". Armed with an "endorsement" from Dr. Spaceman (Chris Parnell) and hook-ups from Jack, the product is finally ready for sale. Soon after, a series of product defects prompts Tracy to tell Jack that he does not wish to endorse the product any longer. Jack finds a way to make it work: by rebranding it as a Whoopi Goldberg-endorsed product targeted for Ukraine.

I couldn’t understand Whoopi reading the phonetically correct cue cards, so I had to run this by Taras who confirmed that she was speaking Russian. But at least the sign is in Ukrainian. Points lost for ‘the Ukraine’ though, shame on you Alec Baldwin we are the Irish of the West!


At least they gave some free publicity to the Ukrainian Museum-Archive in Cleveland:

In a recent episode of NBC’s 30 Rock, Liz mulls over a move from New York to Cleveland.

On the show’s website, a colorful map of Cleveland is featured along with directions to our very own Ukrainian Museum-Archives .

We aren’t certain as to why we are featured but as our Director Andy Fedynsky noted, this certainly "puts us on the map!"