Internews Ukraine: Ukrainian protests are peaceful, despite the provocation cases

Address to journalists in the EU and worldwide

Dear colleagues and friends,

International media NGO “Internews Ukraine” calls on you to disseminate the following two messages to your colleagues and friends. First, Ukrainian protests are peaceful. Second, the regime is cruel to its citizens and to the journalists.

Some of you might have watched videos about yesterday’s violence near the Presidential administration in Kyiv. One thing should be made clear: this violence is NOT the essence of the Ukrainian protests. It was a result of a special operation aimed at provoking violence on both sides of the confrontation.

The key idea of these provocations is to discredit the peaceful character of the Ukrainian protests, and to create an aggressive image of the will of the people. Some radicals can naively join them. But they do not represent even a tiny part in the Ukrainian protests.

Hundreds of thousands people who took on streets on December 1st, were peaceful.  They want the change of the regime but they don’t want blood. They want a free Ukraine, a non-violent European state respecting the rule of law and the fundamental freedoms. The huge manifestation was provoked by forceful disperse of peaceful pro-EU protesters by riot police early in the morning of November 30 in Kyiv.

The regime, however, is cruel. During the events on December 1st and November 30th it has attacked journalists. At least 40 journalists, including from the international media such as Reuters, Euronews, etc. have suffered from police assault (more information in Ukrainian is available here: http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2013/12/1/7004192/). These brutal acts are against the international law and conventions protecting freedom of speech.

Your support is highly needed and valuable. Together we should stay firm and stop violence.

Team of Internews Ukraine, an International Kyiv-based NGO

Permanent link: http://bit.ly/ukraineprotests

Backgrounder

internews ukraineInternews Ukraine is one of the leading media NGOs, working in Ukrainian media and communication market since 1996. Mission of organization is the promotion of European values in Ukraine through development of successful media. The organization empowers independent and pluralistic media in Ukraine; improves journalism standards and local media legislation; assists the development of full-fledged democracy and civil society in the country; journalism networking and communication support; new media and social journalism. Website: http://internews.ua/, Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/internewsukraine

Visuals of Ukrainian protests mock government

Participants of anti-government protests in Ukraine have explored visuals to mock key politicians, including President Yanukovych, Prime Minister Azarov and Minister of Internal Affairs Zaharchenko #євромайдан #euromaidan.

Since the first days of protests people draw posters and slogans in support of European perspectives for Ukraine. Their attitude was rather positive. Protesters called government to sign EU Association Agreement in Vilnius on Nov 28-29. On the other hand, some posters attacked Putin, whose pressure on Ukraine had been witnessed for months. Since the government of Ukraine had denounced signature of the agreement on Nov 29, protesters have changed their tone accusing the government of failure and “stealing Ukraine’s dream of Europe”.

After the police has stormed unarmed protestors in Kyiv in the early hours of Saturday, Nov 30, anger has widely spread among millions of Ukrainian citizens. The tone of posters grew from peaceful to active, calling to bring to justice the key politicians, responsible for violence against citizens. Protesters have created visuals, publishing them online and asking people to print them out and carry them to the streets.

User mrpetrruccia has published three key posters. Each of them calls: “Remember! His hands are in blood”

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User larsvontrier published in Facebook two anti-police posters:

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A poster from another user shows a screenshot from official site of President of Ukraine. It depicts a news in which President of Ukraine appeals to Ukrainian people, but instead of Yanukovych’s photo, a photo of Hitler posted:

oburenyi1

Дарка Чепак, welcome back!

Методи ефективного ненасильницького спротиву – це коли режим руйнується зсередини. Дарка Чепак –  є прес-секретарем Президента України, яку особисто знаю. Давайте привітаємо Дарку з поверненням, аби їй було легше схвалити рішення, що дало б приклад багатьом іншим чиновникам.

darka welcome back1

Чому Korrespondent.net більше не існує?

korr vs rusrep1

У неділю познайомився в Бостоні з російськомовним українцем, який вже 15 років живе в Штатах. Серед іншого, він спитав в мене, які інші новинні сайти існують в Україні окрім Korrespondent.net. Справді, значна частина Інтернет-аудиторії переглядає Korrespondent.net як один з ключових новинних ресурсів. У цьому – заслуга команди Юлі Мак-Гаффі, яка вела ресурс впродовж останніх десять років. Стара команда ще встигла редизайнути сайт, зробивши його максимально сучасним.

Однак впродовж останніх п’яти днів онлайновий Корр кардинально змінився. Не всі можливо відчули це, але нині, з новим власником – Курченком і без Мак-Гаффі Korrespondent.net- це газета “Сегодня” в її найгірших проявах. На сайті працює 30 чоловік, більшість – чудові і толкові люди. Однак в минулу п’ятницю, як тільки звільнилася Мак-Гаффі, в структурі Korrespondent.net з’явився новий підрозділ – “Отдел выпуска”. Хто там працює – журналісти не знають, відділ розташований щонайменше на іншому поверсі редакції. Саме від цього відділу нині зележить, що саме публікується на сайті та як переписуються новини.

Станом на вівторок, стара команда все ще контролювала публікації в соціальних медіа (Фейсбук та Твітер). Чи надовго? При спробі перейти зі сторінки Корреспондента у Фейсбуці на спецтему “Евромайдан. Самые важные события. Обновляется” – сайт показує помилку 404.

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Що змінилося на сайті впродовж останніх кількох днів – легко простежити через висвітлення подій Євромайдану. Читаємо заголовки:

Янукович: Украина подпишет СА, когда договорится на нормальных экономических условиях. Зверніть увагу на застосування слова “нормальных” – це “нормалізація” не тільки новини, але й мови /дискурсу. Підтекст: нинішні умови євроінтеграції – ненормальні, невигідні, кабальні. Давайте усі разом почекаємо “нормальних” умов. Головне – чекати.

Лидеры оппозиции намерены пойти на заседание Кабмина и убеждать отменить паузу евроинтеграции.  Відчуйте відтінки інтонаціі “убеждать отменить” – Корр подає так, ніби старшокласники йдуть в кабінет директора відмазувати друга, що провинився. Прийом – маргіналізація опозиції. Йдемо далі: словосполучення “пауза евроинтеграции” – Корр використовує термінологію, яку нав’язує влада. “Пауза” – це щось незначне, несуттєве, нетривке.  Тобто це спроба  лінгвістично пом’якшити відмову від Асоціації. Опозиція ніколи не використовувала термін “пауза”.

Оппозиция решила бросить партийную символику и объединиться с митингующими на Майдане Незалежности. Можете уявити собі новину на сайті Партії регіонів: “Регионалы решили бросить партийную символику и уехать в Донецк”?  Дієслово “бросить” явно зашкалює, окрім того, ніхто нічого не кидав в прямому сенсі слова. Картинка, яка асоціюється в мене з “киданням партійної символіки”, – прапори нацистів, кинуті під мавзолей на Красной площади в 1945 році.

Характерними є інші заголовки на центральній сторінці. Я вже не кажу про підбір новинних фото в стилі “політбюро” – голова Рибака, портрет Януковича з офіційного сайту Президента. Українські фотографи, певно, вже виють від болю. Зрештою, заголовки:

  • На Евромайдан пришли три тысячи студентов;
  • МИД России обвинил Евросоюз в подстрекательстве к протестам в Украине;
  • Янукович: Основа государственных решений – национальные интересы Украины.

Після таких змін варто очікувати відтік читачів з сайту. Хоча у нових менеджерів, видається, є нова стратегія:

sim1Скріншоти з сайтів: Korrespondent.net, RusRep.ru та Facebook.com

Boston joined rallies in support of pro European choice for Ukraine

Maryna Novikova sends love to Ukraine from Boston - photo by Vitalii Moroz

Maryna Novikova sends love to Ukraine from Boston – photo by Vitalii Moroz

The Ukrainian community of Boston showed up to support pro European choice for Ukraine on Nov 24, 2013. About twenty Ukrainians came to the Boston Commons, the central park located in downtown Boston, holding Ukrainian flags, symbols and posters to bring attention to the protests in Ukraine.

Oleh Kotsyuba, Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, came to the venue holding two big posters. The posters’ messages were “Ukraine is Europe. Boston supports #євромайдан” and “#євромайдан is Boston Strong”. Kotsyuba represents a generation of young professionals who remain optimists regarding Ukraine’s future. He says:

I believe, it is crucial today to show support for the protest actions in Kyiv, Ukraine. This is a unique chance for Ukraine to unite for a common cause that is not appropriated by any one political party, ideology or leader. The main cause for people in Ukraine is their future – which they see as part of the European Union.

Ukrainians in Boston express support to Ukraine

Ukrainians in Boston express support to Ukraine – photo by Vitalii Moroz

Demonstrators also brought their messages in front of the Massachusetts State House, a building where the legislative body of the Massachusetts government sits. There participants decided to sing the national anthem of Ukraine. According to organizers, Ukrainians in Boston wanted to send a message to “keep strong” to participants of the Ukrainian rallies. The youngest participant of the Boston rally was a three-year-old boy from a family of Ukrainians living in Boston.

The idea to conduct a support action arose in the Facebook group called Ukrainian Boston on Nov 23, 2013. The information on the time and place of the gathering spread across social media. “If we had at least couple of days more, we could have brought many more people to the rally,” organizers said. Also they promised to come together again  to celebrate in case of Ukraine’s success in signing the EU Association Agreement.

On Saturday and Sunday, Nov 23-24, rallies in support of Ukraine’s pro European choice were also held in Chicago, Cleveland, Washington DC and New York City.

Peaceful protests expand all over Ukraine

photo by Denys Lukoshkin / Flickr

photo by Denys Lukoshkin / Flickr

3,000 people came to Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kyiv on Friday, Nov 22, a second day of protests. The protests spread all over Ukraine including Lviv, Vinnytsya, Chernivtsi, Donetsk, Mykolayiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv and other cities.

The biggest rally took place in Lviv – about 10,000 came to support the European future of Ukraine. Lviv mayor Andriy Sadovyi called for the mobillisation of Lviv residents to express their support to European values.

In Mykolayiv, located in the south of Ukraine, police took action against protesters. Police officers removed tents set by protesters on the central square of Mykolayiv. Protesters spent a night outside.

Follow the news on protest through #євромайдан #euromaidan in social media. Also read the related post on Ukraine in The Economist

Also see best tweets from users on the protests: http://storify.com/vitaliymoroz/ukrainians-went-to-the-streets-euromaidan#

From Facebook and Twitter to the streets: Ukrainians protest of ceased EU deal

More than 1,000 citizens came to Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kyiv to protest against Yanukovych’s government on the night of Nov 21. It was the reaction to official news on governmental refusal to continue preparations for signing the political and free trade agreement with EU, also known as EU-Ukraine Association agreement. In the future, implementation of the agreement would possibly bring Ukraine to the EU full membership. The deal on Association agreement would have to be signed in Vilnius next week.

Once the details on Ukraine’s refusal went public on Nov 21, people’s indignation sparked in social media. Online media, Facebook and Twitter became platforms for citizens to express their disappointment and harsh government’s critique. Dozens users started writing negative remarks towards Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov on his official Facebook page.

Since the event has happened on the eve of ninth anniversary of the Orange Revolution, that started on Nov 22, 2004, many Internet users called for action. Some opinion leaders, including journalist Mustafa Nayem, called to come out to Maidan Nezaleznosti at 10.30 pm. The call have been widely spread across social media, informing thousands of Internet users. As of 2013, the penetration of Internet in Ukraine is about 18 million users.

Closer to midnight, hundreds citizens came to Maidan Nezaleznosti. Some of them had EU flags, some came with posters in support of the European future of Ukraine. Many have learned about time and place of the rally through social media. Hashtags #євромайдан, followed by #майдан and #euromaidan became key filters through which Internet users could follow and disseminate the news on protests. 17-20 tweets with #євромайдан hashtag were published per minute on the night Nov 21. Users continued to tweet during the night. Some users wrote, they are traveling to Kyiv to support the rally.

photo by Михайло Петях via Ukrainska Pravda

photo by Михайло Петях via Ukrainska Pravda

Social media reached citizens across Ukraine. That night citizens in Lviv, Lutsk, Ternopil and Donetsk came to the streets to protest as well. Finally, more than 1000 citizens came together in Kyiv. Oppositional politicians, like Vitaliy Klischko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleg Tyagnybok joined the protesters.

Since the rally took place late at night and it was spontaneous, no TV station had a crew there. It was an Internet user Сruz, who turned to Ustream online broadcasting with help of his cell phone and mobile Internet. His Ustream channel announced in social media has attracted thousands of viewers. During the second hour of his live broadcast more than 12 000 users were watching what was happening on Maidan Nezaleznosti. When the battery of his cell phone discharged, he went offline.

In the nearest days social media will play a vital role in mobilization of thousands of Ukrainian citizens to protest against government’s refusal to chose pro-European future for Ukraine. While in 2004, protests that led to Orange Revolution, were coordinated through cell phones and text messages, today’s culture of governmental protests in Ukraine has been enriched by social media tools. And the citizens with access to the Internet lead this technological revolution.