As the fifth evening of growing civil protests approached on Nov. 25, it became clear that the ruling regime’s control over television media was crumbling.
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma’s establishment had, according to oppositionist political forces and media experts, used their control over a handful of channels with nationwide coverage to manipulate voters. Losing control over the media is expected to weaken support for Kuchma, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and their cronies in eastern and southern regions of the country where they benefit from strong support, partly due to the lack of oppositionist media presence.
On Nov. 25, privately owned television channel 1+1 announced that Vyacheslav Pikhovshek had been removed as editor of the venue’s news programs.
Oppositionist political figures have accused Pikhovshek of spreading biased news coverage designed to lower support for Yushchenko while beefing up Kuchma and his allies.
A recent survey of journalists funded by Democratic Initiatives Foundation, a western-funded NGO, singled out Pikhovshek as the “least trusted” journalist in Ukraine.
Officials at 1+1 said Pikhovshek would continue to work at the studio as author of Epitsenter, a political analysis show aired on Sunday
News programs on 1+1 virtually disappeared earlier this week after journalists and editors and the channel went on strike in protest of alleged pressure from management and certain political forces to produce biased media coverage that favored Kuchma and allies.
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