candidate, Kansas State University)
Freedom in Ukraine: the Reversal Wave?"
Petro Jacyk Program on the Study of Ukraine continued its
busy schedule of seminars with a February 26 talk by Olena
Nikolayenko (MA candidate, Kansas State University) on Press
Freedom In Ukraine: the Reversal Wave? In order to assess
the question of the decline in press freedom after the first
period of democratization, she conducted a comparative content
analysis of the media coverage of the Ukrainian presidential
elections of 1994 and 1999. The information was gathered from
the Uriadovyi Kur'ier and the Holos Ukrainy, both provided
by the Petro Jacyk Central and East European Resource Centre
of the University of Toronto Library. The results of Ms. Nikolayenko's
analysis will be incorporated into her MA thesis.
Nikolayenko started her talk with a broad overview of the
theoretical framework and historical background that apply
to the idea of media freedom. Her research seeks to test the
thesis of reversal wave and period of stagnation, as developed
by Samuel Huntington and Larry Diamond respectively.
the coverage bias in the two newspapers, Ms. Nikolayenko noted
that, for the 1994 election, incumbent President Leonid Kravchuk
received favourable press coverage with very little negative
coverage. In the 1999 election, incumbent President Leonid
Kuchma had positive press coverage at a rate approaching hundred
percent. She noted that the other candidates in the 1999 election,
who were more numerous than in 1994, received more space in
the press media. All things considered, however, she asserted
that across the two elections, one can discern a significant
decline of press freedom.
order to fully address the question of press freedom, Ms.
Nikolayenko also looked at other factors such as harassment
and attacks on journalists, press ownership structure, and
the general politico-economic situation prevailing in Ukraine.
She conncluded that the Ukrainian press is in a position of
with the audience raised the fact that estimates of the number
of Ukrainian newspapers, circulation figures, and their market
share can only be approximated since no official consensus
exists. Statistical variation can be considerable from one
evaluation ranking to another.
conclusion, Ms. Nikolayenko reminded the audience that there
are several manifestations of a reversal wave across the FSU
region. Looking at the dictatorship in Belarus, Kuchmagate
in 2001, the takeover of NTV and the closure of TV-6 in Russia,
and Moldova--which is compared to an European Cuba--it is
reasonable to wonder if the democratic process is not losing