BBG Seeks to Enhance Broadcasting to Ukraine

U.S. international broadcasting officials are exploring new ways to reach listeners in the Ukraine in the wake of a crackdown on media.

“We are committed to seeing that millions of Ukrainians continue to receive trusted news and information that is vital to helping them make decisions about their lives and their country,” said Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency that oversees all U.S. international broadcasting, including the Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

On Feb. 17, 2004, the privately-owned Ukrainian FM Radio Dovira network dropped all RFE/RL programs, a move that RFE/RL President Thomas Dine called a “deeply disturbing political development and serious setback to freedom of expression in Ukraine.”

RFE/RL immediately began working with other RFE/RL affiliate partners in Ukraine, who have expressed a willingness to take more programs since the Dovira decision was announced. RFE/RL, which is still available through a half-dozen affiliates, is also working with a number of potential new partners located throughout Ukraine. Ukrainians can also access RFE/RL programs by shortwave and digital audio satellite.

“We want to and will be part of the Ukrainian mass media,” Dine said.

VOA, meantime, will continue to produce two hours of Ukrainian programming daily. The programs are carried on Ukrainian state radio, on 12 FM affiliates across the country and on shortwave. VOA-TV also produces “Window on America,” a popular, weekly, 25-minute newsmagazine that is aired nationwide on the state-owned television network.

“VOA’s news broadcasts will be available to the Ukrainian people on every medium: radio, television and the Internet,” said VOA Director David S. Jackson.

The BBG is an independent federal agency which supervises all U.S. government-supported non-military international broadcasting, including the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL); Radio Free Asia (RFA); Radio and TV Mart