Have taboo subjects returned to Ukrainian television?

According to Myroslav Otkovych, a TV correspondent, Holodomor has become a taboo subject on his channel 1 + 1. In a blog article on Ukrainska Pravda he writes:

“On Tuesday President Yanukovych made one more conscious step towards dividing the country. In the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europea he placed in question Holodomor 1932-1933 as an act of genocide of the Ukrainian nation.

This has been recognized by the parliaments of many countries. Furthermore in Ukraine there is a law on the subject which states that “Public denial of Holodomor 1932-1933 in Ukraine shall be considered desecration of the memory of millions of victims of Holodomor, denigration of the dignity of the Ukrainian people and unlawful”.

The author goes on to say that in the view of experts, Viktor Yanukovych therefore committed an unlawful act, although one which is not punishable by law, since proposed changes to the Criminal Code have not been passed.

He says that he is sure that representatives of the President’s Administration would claim that one can’t take over Holodomor and that people died in the Volga region and in Kazakhstan. True, he says, but what is stopping Kazakhstan and Russia from raising similar issues before the world community?

The author points out that there was also a court ruling on Holodomor which named nine main culprits [cf. and the link to the ruling itself below]

The author cites an expert assessment provided by the Academy of Sciences Institute of Demography and Social Research which stated that as a result of genocide in Ukraine three million 941 thousand people died.

He suggested to the Editor of the 1 + 1 Television News Service [TSN] that they carry out a legal assessment of the President’s words at PACE, getting the opinion of experts, presenting the pros and cons.

The author says that at the initial stage the idea was approved, but he was told to convince the Editor in Chief himself. He rang the latter and was told the following: “The item is interesting, but the directive needs to approve it.”   Myroslav Otkovych says that according to this formula “approving directives”, TSN has been working since the day that Maxim Shylenko was removed from his post as acting Editor in Chief.

Directives, he notes, are those same “temnyky” [instructions on what to cover, and how, and what to ignore, under President Kuchma], only verbal.

It soon became clear, he says, that the feature would not be shown that day but supposedly would appear in the weekly summing up programme. Then he learned that it would be a maximum short text with one or two interviews.

“According to the Editor, material with a legal analysis of the President’s statement won’t be broadcast this Sunday in any form. To my question “why not”, they all laugh conspiratorially and motion with their heads upwards.

The theme of Holodomor has thus been censored.

Whereas for me this theme is a Rubicon after which it is IMPOSSIBLE to be silent.

Conscience overcomes fear.”

The author explains that in such circumstances there can be no consideration of corporate loyalty, that “It is a CRIME to sell the memory, pain and suffering of your people for a salary”.

He says that it won’t take much for the Editor in Chief to be spoken of in the same breath as the “masters of censorship – Pichovskyk and Dzhangirov, both of whom, incidentally are running the President’s information policy”.

The website Telekrytyka reported later in the day that Mr Pichovskyk is planning to take Myroslav Otkovych, author of the article outlined here (in the Ukrainian: “Temnyky have returned”) to court. He told Telekrytyka: “I do not consider that he had the right to call me a “master of censorship” since I have never for one day worked with him which is easy to prove with documents. Let him provide in court that I’m running anything information-wise. And my position with regard to Holodomor I have stated on more than one occasions: it was a class crime, the Soviet regime killed all economically independent citizens regardless of their nationality”

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