The Listening Post

Upheaval in Ukraine: The media angles

We examine how the unfolding crisis has led to key media moments in a country with questionable press freedoms.

The day the Yanukovich government fell, a young journalist went on Inter – one of Ukraine’s leading private news channels and a big backer of the president. She accused the network of deceiving its viewers and dividing Ukrainians in its coverage of the protest movement. It was one of those crystallising media moments.

Another one was this week, when after Yanukovich had fled his residence, his entourage reportedly dumped hundreds of classified documents into a neighbouring reservoir – which turned out to be a bad move.

Journalists showed up with scuba divers and turned up an enormous catch. Papers the president tried to submerge are now appearing online even before they dry out, revealing the dealings of a president who has found it hard to relinquish power. Our starting point on this week’s News Divide is Kiev.

On Newsbytes: In the US, there are new rules for the department of justice, who will now inform news organisations about what records and documents it is out to get. The news outlets can also challenge any subpoenas or search warrants in a federal court – but there is a catch. In Hong Kong, protesters are calling for greater protection against censorship and an end to Beijing’s pressure on the media industry. In Mexico, a state prosecutor has resigned over what he called personal reasons, just after he commented on the circumstances surrounding a reporter’s murder.

For our feature this week we go to Uganda.

On February 25, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed off on the anti-homosexuality bill making it the law of the land. It was already illegal to be gay in Uganda but the new law means harsher punishments, and not just for homosexuals. It also makes it illegal for Ugandans to, for instance, go on television to discuss homosexuality without condemning it; not ideal conditions for a proper debate.

Rather than opposing the new law, much of the Ugandan media are already on board. The Listening Post’s Nic Muirhead has a special report on this.

And finally, on our web video of the week: ‘I totally don’t owe you an explanation but these are the Reasons Why I Don’t Have A Smartphone’. So begins a cartoon by deadpan chronicler of everyday life, Levni Yilmaz – the artist behind the cartoon animations “Tales of Mere Existence”. Since he set up his own channel on YouTube last year, he has attracted more than 40 million hits. You might be watching this one on your smartphones – which will no doubt add an extra layer of irony to the experience.


Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

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