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Saturday, November 27, 2010

New radio show highlights world of media

Last month a new radio program looking at the media industry around the world debuted on shortwave and internet radio. 

The 55-minute program, Media Network Plus, broadcasts monthly. It usually includes coverage of the media in Ukraine on the program, since I am one of the announcers. :-) The other is executive producer of the show, Keith Perron of PCJ Radio.

So the second broadcast aired yesterday ... amid considerable confusion. The first transmission of the show is scheduled for the 4th Friday of the month on Radio Miami International (WRMI) at 7 pm EST (0000UTC Saturday) on shortwave frequency 9955khz and streaming live on the station's website.

However, it went on the air two hours late (at 9 pm EST) due to technical difficulties at the station. Since Keith is in Taiwan and the time difference from BC is 16 hours, he missed out on a good night's sleep trying to get to the root of the problem. It turns out that because of the American Thanksgiving holiday there was no one on hand at WRMI to deal with a mechanical failure.

In the meantime, if you were following me on Twitter you will have noticed a rather frenzied exchange with Vasyl who was also trying to catch the show on WRMI's live stream ... but I suspect he may have given up by the time the program finally aired. Hopefully he'll catch it on the weekend. It also streams on the PCJ Radio website Saturday and Sunday at 0700UTC (2 am EST) and 1600UTC (11 am EST).

The podcast will be at the PCJ website here sometime after the final live transmission.

On this month's edition of Media Network Plus:
  • Myroslava Gondgadze is named one of the top 100 influential women in Ukraine
  • The Director of Broadcasting of Radio Television Hong Kong steps down, citing health reasons
  • Afrikaans station Radio Pretoria finally gets a 5-year broadcasting license
  • Police in Zimbabwe confiscate shortwave radios in rural communities
  • Two Dutch journalists receive an award for their coverage of child sex abuse at Catholic boarding schools in The Netherlands
  • Feature interview with Adrian Johns, author of Death of a Pirate, a book about British offshore pirate radio station Radio City
  • Feature interview with Richard Lucas, author of Axis Sally: The American Voice of Nazi Germany about an ambitious, star-struck Ohio girl who evolved from a failed Broadway actress into a reviled disseminator of Nazi propaganda
Next month's broadcast will air (barring any more holiday system glitches!) on December 24th and will feature an indepth look at deteriorating press freedoms in Ukraine and, on a lighter note, radio bloopers that Keith has collected over the years... including some of mine. I can hardly wait for that (...she said sarcastically).

Anyway, I hope you'll check out the show and let us know what you think of it ... what you like and what you think would make it better. Leave a comment here or send an email to either Keith or myself. Duzhe diakuyu!

Canada's Prime Minister commemorates Holodomor

Statement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the 77th Anniversary of the Holodomor:

I am honoured to join Canadians in the solemn commemoration of the 77th anniversary of the Holodomor. On this day, we remember the millions of Ukrainians who suffered and perished during one of the most terrible crimes in history. Millions of men, women and children – predominantly Ukrainian – died of starvation under Joseph Stalin’s oppressive regime.

Canada’s heritage is forever connected to this unimaginable tragedy through the more than one million Canadians of Ukrainian decent, many of whom lost loved ones in that time of horror. The Holodomor is a part of the past that we as Canadians must never forget. Two years ago, our Government was proud to lead an effort in Parliament to officially recognize the Holodomor as a genocide and establish an annual day of commemoration on the fourth Saturday of each November.

I was deeply moved by the vivid depictions and sad memories of this humanitarian catastrophe preserved at the National Holodomor Memorial, when I visited Kyiv this October. I was reminded of the Ukrainian communities back home that honour the memory of victims of the Holodomor with monuments in parks and public squares.

During my visit to Ukraine, I was impressed by the profound friendship our two countries share. Canada stood against the oppression of Ukraine during the two World Wars and the Cold War, and was the first western country to formally recognize its independence from Soviet communism.

As our friendship grows, Canada will continue to support Ukraine in its journey toward strengthening freedom, democracy, justice and human rights. As Canadians, we admire and respect Ukrainians’ pursuit of liberty and freedom, their spirit of independence, and their courage and determination.

The Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada

Friday, November 26, 2010

MP Joy Smith commemorates 77th Anniversary of Holodomor

Joy Smith, Member of Parliament for Kildonan–St. Paul in Manitoba, will join Ukrainian-Canadians across Canada this weekend as they solemnly remember and mourn one of the most tragic chapters in Ukrainian history, the man-made genocide Holodomor.
“Canada has long been a close friend of Ukraine. By joining Ukraine in remembering Holodomor, we deplore the acts and policies that brought about mass starvation and the deaths of millions of people. We are convinced that exposing violations of human rights and restoring the dignity of victims through acknowledgement of their suffering, will guide future societies and help to avoid similar catastrophes in the future.

Through the strong leadership of our Prime Minister, Canada is committed to commemorating the victims of Holodomor. In 2007, Canada co-sponsored Ukraine’s motion honouring the millions who perished in the Famine at UNESCO. Last month, during Prime Minister Harper’s visit to the Ukraine, he solemnly remembered Holodomor as he placed a pot of grain in front of a commemorative statue called ‘Sad Memory of Childhood’.

Let us never forget this atrocity and may we continue to pursue the freedoms and rights of those oppressed today.”
Canada officially recognizes Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (“Holodomor”) Memorial Day on November 27, 2010. This Memorial Day is a result of the passage of Bill C-459 in 2008 that established the fourth Saturday of every November as the national Memorial Day for Holodomor and officially recognized the Holodomor as a genocide.

MP Joy Smith currently serves on the Executive of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group and served as the Chair in 2008.

Two Canadian Members of Parliament commemorate Holodomor in House of Commons

It is indeed gratifying to see politicians unite in non-partisanship to commemorate the Holodomor, a 20th century genocide that so many still deny.

Would that this commemoration were taking place in Ukraine, where the Holodomor occured.

In 1932-33Stalin and his henchment starved millions of Ukrainians to death for the sake of communist ideology. This was not the first, nor the last, attempt by the Kremlin to eradicate Ukrainians. It happened in 1921-23 and again in 1946-47.

I am proud of those Canadians in public office who have the backbone to put politics aside and call a genocide a genocide ... and (unlike the deniers who debate the "numbers") honour the memory of millions of innocents who perished in this heinous crime against humanity.

James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirt Interlake

Borys Wrzesnewskyj, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke-Centre

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Canadian government statement commemorating the Holodomor

Today the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement commemorating the 77th anniversary of the Holodomor:

“This week is National Holodomor Awareness Week, a time for all Canadians to remember the terrible famine in Ukraine which killed millions between 1932 and 1933.

“The Government of Canada is committed to remembering the victims of the Holodomor and heightening international awareness of what happened more than three-quarters of a century ago.

“During his trip to Ukraine last month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the Holomodor ‘one of the great crimes of history.’ He laid a symbolic pot of grain at the foot of a commemorative statue called 'Sad Memory of Childhood', depicting a wraith-like young girl.

“Honouring those memories is why in 2007 the Government of Canada proudly co-sponsored Ukraine's motion at UNESCO to honour the millions who perished in the famine and to acknowledge that their deaths were caused by the cruel actions and policies of a totalitarian regime.

“In 2008, Parliament unanimously passed a bill to establish a Ukrainian Famine and Genocide Memorial Day and to recognize the Ukrainian Famine of 1932–33 as an act of genocide.

“Establishing a memorial day and recognizing the Holodomor as an act of genocide expresses the fundamental values Canadians hold dear: freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

“It also honours the more than one million Canadians of Ukrainian descent who have played an important role in building our society, taking great pride in both their traditional heritage and their adopted home.

“By helping people remember the victims of the Holodomor, we remind Canadians that we share a responsibility to ensure that similar atrocities never happen again.

“Throughout this week, and in the days ahead, many events will be held across Canada to commemorate the Holodomor. I will be honoured to attend one such ceremony this coming Tuesday in Ottawa sponsored by the Ukrainian Embassy and the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group.

“As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I join all Canadians, and particularly Canadians of Ukrainian origin, in solemnly marking the anniversary of this crime against humanity."

You can find details of events across Canada commemorating the Holodomor here.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Amnesty International activists beaten by Ukraine government

Amnesty International is concerned that six people including Amnesty International activists and former prisoners of conscience were held for three days in incommunicado detention in Ukraine.

Two of them report that they were subjected to beatings. All were detained in very poor conditions without access to a lawyer or any possibility to contact the outside world between Wednesday night and Saturday evening, when they were released.

Ihor Koktysh, Iryna Tyutyunnyk, Tatyana and Vitaliy Tishchenko, Artsyom Dubski and Aleksei Zakshevskiy were detained in connection with an investigation into possession of cannabis in Zhytomir in North West Ukraine on 3 November. They were only released on Saturday evening after their lawyer went to see the Regional Prosecutor and demanded to see them.

Ihor Koktysh, and Iryna Tyutyunnykh are the coordinators of the Amnesty International group in Zhytomir and they were preparing for a group meeting with four of their friends on 3 November.

At 2pm police officers entered the flat without a search warrant by sending ahead a woman who claimed to be checking the electricity metre. Shortly after that five plain clothed police officers entered and restrained all those in the flat.

When he complained that they were being subjected to a provocation, Ihor Koktysh maintains that he was forced to lie on the floor on his stomach and handcuffed. Artsyom Dubski alleges that he was beaten by police officers in the flat. They were made to wait for two hours until the owner of the flat arrived and gave written permission to the police to inspect the flat. Shortly afterwards police officers claimed to find 10g of cannabis in the kitchen.

Amnesty International spoke to Iryna Tyutyunnyk while the flat was being searched, but then lost touch with the group. The organization later learned that they had been detained and taken to three difference police stations in Zhytomir region. Their mobile phones were confiscated and they were unable to contact anybody until their release.

This case highlights a long-standing problem in Ukraine that people who are detained under the Administrative Code can be held by the police for up to three days without access to a lawyer. They are deprived of the basic guarantees that can protect them from torture and other ill-treatment.

Although, under the Administrative Code detainees are entitled to a phone call to inform a person of their choice of their detention, they were denied this right increasing the risk of ill-treatment in detention.

Amnesty International urges the authorities to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into the actions of police officers in this case. In particular, to investigate the allegations that Artsyom Dubski and Ihor Koktysh were beaten by police officers, and that police officers gained entry to the flat under false pretences and without a warrant.

Furthermore, Amnesty International calls on the authorities to make the necessary changes to the Administrative code to ensure that all detainees have access to a lawyer from the outset.


Ihor Koktysh was detained in Ukraine for over three and a half years from 25 June 2007 following an application by Belarus for his extradition to face a charge of murder, a crime that carries the death penalty in Belarus. Koktysh had first been charged with the crime in January 2001, but was acquitted in December 2001. He then left Belarus for Ukraine. In his absence the case was reopened and he was charged again with the same offence in 2002. He was released from detention in Ukraine on 2 February 2010 after the European Court of Human Rights ruled on 10 December 2009 that Koktysh should not be extradited to Belarus due to the serious risk of torture or ill-treatment and the death penalty. The case against Koktysh for murder in Belarus is ongoing.

Artyom Dubsky, an opposition activist from Belarus was sentenced to two years of restricted freedom in Belarus in April 2008 for his participation in a peaceful protest which was converted to one year imprisonment in July 2009. Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience and he was released in May 2010 and moved to Ukraine in June.

For more information please the Amnesty International website.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Ukrainian Canadian Congress launches fundraising campaign to raise awareness of 1932-33 Ukrainian genocide

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress announces the 2010 fundraising campaign to support Holodomor awareness and education.
Beginning with a remarkable 75th anniversary commemorative year in 2008, the achievements of the Ukrainian community in raising awareness and gaining recognition of this genocide continue to resonate.

A successful tour of the International Remembrance Flame, recognition of the Holodomor as genocide by the federal government and five provincial legislatures, and the most recent tribute by Prime Minister Harper at the Holodomor memorial in Kyiv last month are only a few highlights of a successful campaign.

The accomplishments to date are also a direct result of the community's generous financial support. The UCC's work, however, is far from complete. There are many more Canadians still to reach with the message that the Holodomor was genocide of the Ukrainian people and it must serve as a reminder to future generations in the prevention of similar crimes against humanity.

Your contribution to the UCC Holodomor Awareness Fund will support:

  • Completion of the documentation of Holodomor survivor testimonies and further development of the website Sharing the Story
  • Development of teaching materials on the Holodomor and training for educators in our public, catholic and private schools throughout the country;
  • Publication and distribution of general information about the Holodomor in the English, French and Ukrainian languages for all interested Canadians;
  • Annual promotion of National Holodomor Awareness Week in November.
All donations should be made payable to the UCC Charitable and Educational Trust with the designation of Holodomor Awareness Fund. Please send your cheques to Ukrainian Canadian Congress, 203-952 Main Street, Winnipeg, MB, R2W 3P4. Donations can also be made online.

Help reveal the truth about the Holodomor. Make your donation today!

Monday, November 01, 2010

You're invited to the Grand Opening of the Ivan Franko Library in Richmond

Greater Vancouver has many hidden treasures known only to its immediate environs.

One such treasure is the Ivan Franko Lending Library housed on the mezzanine of the Ukrainian Community Society of Ivan Franko in Richmond, BC. And the Society is thrilled to invite the community at large to the library's Grand Opening Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 2 pm.

Located at 5311 Francis Road, the Society was founded in 1937 in the middle of what was then a thriving farming community on Lulu Island. It adopted the name Prosvita (which in Ukrainian means "enlightenment") and modelled itself on the reading societies that sprang up in 19th century Ukraine.

These societies promoted education and literacy amongst Ukrainians newly emancipated from serfdom in the Hapsburg Empire in 1848-9 and the Russian Empire in 1861. Some of the activities included readings from books and newspapers to educate the illiterate and keep them apprised of current events.

For nearly 75 years, Richmond's Ivan Franko society has been a popular gathering place for Ukrainian immigrants and their children. Over the years, many members would donate precious books to the Society's library for posterity and future generations.

During this past year, volunteers have been working to modernize the Society's library and its holdings. Now the small but impressive collection of books on Ukrainian literature, culture, and history (in Ukrainian and English) is electronically catalogued, shelved and ready for circulation.

At the Grand Opening you can enjoy great cameraderie as well as refreshments and door prizes. As well as an opportunity to browse through the library's collection, Coquitlam author Mirko Petriw will be on hand to sign copies of his recently released novel, a political thriller called Yaroslaw's Treasure.

Make sure to treat yourself to one of Greater Vancouver's delilghtful treasures. Just please RSVP to Theresa at 604-295-0693 before November 14, 2010.

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