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Seven National TV Companies Broadcast Film at the Request of the Office of the President

September 24-25 – After receiving a request from the Office of the President, seven national TV companies broadcast a 55-minute film called 30 Years of Independence. Behind the Scenes.” The film cast a gentle and approving spotlight on how Andrii Yermak, chief of staff of the Office of the President, and Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Yermak’s deputy, prepared the 30th anniversary celebration of Ukraine’s independence on August 24 this year. It was broadcast on ICTV, Inter, Ukraine 24, Dom, 1+1, and Ukraina channels on September 24, and on UA:Pershyi (Ukraine’s nationwide public service TV channel) on September 25.

Detector Media reported that Iryna Pobiedonostseva, director of information policy of the Office of the President, approached national TV companies with a request to broadcast this film. In response to a request to comment, she responded that she was on sick leave. Detector Media has filed an official request to the Office of the President for information about who produced and funded this film, and what conditions accompanied the request or instruction to national TV companies to broadcast the film. No response has been forthcoming thus far.

On September 27, Otar Dovzhenko, editor-in-chief of Detector Media, published  the article “As in Old Times. The Central Channels in Unison Showed a PR Film from the President’s Office.” Dovzhenko wrote that the film “30 Years of Independence. Behind the Scenes” is a product of the Public Relations department, and the film looks like PR in sense and form. The film’s goal, he wrote, is to improve the image, not of the president per se, but specifically of the Office of the President.

It is not completely clear who produced and paid for the film, because the only credit provided at the end of the film was “A. Nesterenko, private entrepreneur.” According to several sources, this is Andriy Nesterenko, who was the main director of the 30th anniversary parade. Hromadske.ua reported that the film was produced by deputy chief of staff of the President’s Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko, who coincidentally appears in it nine times (even more frequently than the President’s chief of staff Yermak).

Dovzhenko expressed disappointment that UA:Pershyi was among the seven TV channels “which agreed to participate in this PR action” and compared the situation with the actions of TV channels some 20 years ago, when the authorities instructed media on what kind of content to broadcast. Dovzhenko said that the fact of broadcasting this film, in tandem with the TV channels belonging to oligarchs, at the request of the Office of the President, could decrease audience, international donor, and other types of support for UA:PBC.

Yuriy Makarov, editor-in-chief of UA:PBC’s television department, told Detector Media that the Office of the President suggested he broadcast the film and that it had been his own decision to agree to it.

Photo credit: Erik Mclean on Unsplash