Life Of A Spuckle

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

One Person CAN Make A Difference

Signing for the deaf sparked Kiev newsroom revolt

Natalya Dymytruk, a 47-year-old mother of two who works as a translator for the deaf on the Ukraine's state-run TV channel, assumed she was making her final broadcast last Thursday when she decided to deviate from the official script. As a colleague read the heavily censored official version of events, Mrs Dymytruk did what her conscience told her, and signed to deaf viewers that they were being told a pack of lies and should not believe the government's claim that Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich had won the presidential election. She added "I am very ashamed to translate these lies. And this is probably my last day in this job, so goodbye."

But when she told colleagues what she had done, they held a meeting in the newsroom and decided she was right. The management, aware of western calls for free speech in the Ukraine, decided not to fire her. Instead, on Friday's evening bulletin a journalist announced that the news team would be joining the protest in Kiev, and said: "We are not lying any more." Since then, the content of the broadcasts has become a lot more balanced. And all because of the boldness of one woman.



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