BBG Watch Commentary

UPDATE: As of 2:00 AM EST, Tuesday, January 28 — Still no change. For the last six hours the lead news headline on the main VOA English website has not been changed and points to an outdated news report on Ukraine. VOA English, Ukrainian, and Russian services are not reporting online on the Biden-Yanukovych phone call Monday, which many other international media outlets have reported already hours ago, including BBC in English and Ukrainian, Russia’s RT and Voice of Russia in English and Russian, RFE/RL, ABC News, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, TIME, AP, Reuters, The Hill, Politico, China’s CCTV and Xinhua, Kuwait News Agency, Ahram Online, The Hindu. U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America’s VOA Charter says VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies. (Public Law 94-350).” It is now 9:00 AM in Kyiv and 11:00 AM in Moscow, Tuesday. The White House released its statement on the Biden-Yanukovych phone call at approximately 8:00 PM EST Monday.

Vice President Biden “underscored that the U.S. condemns the use of violence by any side, and warned that declaring a State of Emergency or enacting other harsh security measures would further inflame the situation and close the space for a peaceful resolution,” the White House statement said. It appears that as of 2:00 AM EST no VOA language service has reported on Biden’s phone call and the White House statement.

VOA management has scheduled a Bingo Game Night for Monday evening. BBG Watch could not confirm whether it has taken place or disrupted work at VOA. VOA has frequently failed in recent months to report on major news developments or was late and superficial in its reporting. VOA journalists blame senior executives for allowing news reporting at VOA to collapse due to poor management and hostile work environment. The Bingo Game Night was apparently VOA’s management’s attempt to improve dismal morale morale. Sources told BBG Watch that many VOA journalists greeted it with contempt and ridicule.

Al Jazeera has also reported on the Biden-Yanukovych phone call and Biden’s warning that declaring a state of emergency or enacting other harsh security measures would further inflame the situation. “Ukraine to decide on repeal of protest law,” Al Jazeera.

Six hours after the White House statement was released, Voice of America is still completely silent on this news.

UPDATE: As of 1:00 AM EST, Tuesday, January 28 — No change. Voice of America English, Ukrainian and Russian websites still have no news about Biden-Yanukovych phone call Monday. VOA Ukrainian Facebook page has not been updated in more than six hours. VOA Russian Facebook page has not been updated in more than three hours. VOA English Facebook page had an update an hour ago. The previous update was four hours ago. There have been also very few updates on VOA English, Ukrainian and Russian websites in the last six hours. VOA services lack resources to update news 24/7, but the major part of the problem according to VOA journalists is VOA’s top management.

UPDATE: As of 12:15 AM EST, Tuesday, January 28 — There is still no reporting by Voice of America about Vice President Biden’s phone call Monday with Ukraine’s President Yanukovych and Biden’s warning that “declaring a State of Emergency or enacting other harsh security measures would further inflame the situation and close the space for a peaceful resolution

Last week, VOA English news website failed to report on a statement on Ukraine by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

VOA English Homepage Screen Shot 2014-01-28, Tuesday at 12.15 AM EST. VOA news report on Ukraine has not been updated in many hours, VOA is not reporting on Biden-Yanukovych phone call.
VOA English Homepage Screen Shot 2014-01-28, Tuesday at 12.15 AM EST. VOA news report on Ukraine has not been updated in many hours. VOA is not reporting on Biden-Yanukovych phone call hours after the White House released a statement and hours after BBC, Russia’s RT and Voice of Russia, and many other international and U.S. media outlets have already posted reports about the latest U.S. appeal for a peaceful solution to the crisis in Ukraine.

UPDATE: As of 12:05 AM EST, Tuesday, January 28. There is still no reporting online from the Voice of America (VOA) in any language, including English, Ukrainian, and Russian, on Vice President Biden’s phone call Monday with Ukraine’s President Yanukovych. BBC, RT, Voice of Russia, Reuters, The Washington Post, Politico, South China Morning Post, The Hindu, ABC News, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) have all reported on the phone call and the White House statement on the phone call hours ago. Tonight has been designated by the Voice of America management as VOA Bingo Game Night, but VOA services, including VOA Ukrainian Service, have not been given resources by VOA executives to update their websites. VOA Ukrainian Facebook page has not been updated in more than four hours. VOA journalists complain of mismanagement, complete breakdown of news reporting, and dismal employee morale.

UPDATE: As of 11:30 PM EST Monday, January 27, Voice of America news services in English, Ukrainian and Russian are not reporting online about a phone call earlier today between Vice President Biden and Ukraine’s President Yanukovych. It appears that no VOA language service is reporting on the phone call or the White House statement released more than three and a half hours ago. VOA Ukrainian Service website and its Facebook page have not been substantially updated in more than four hours. VOA Russian Service website has also not seen any substantial updates in the last few hours. VOA English news website has also not seen any substantial updates. Mismanagement by senior executives is blamed for the collapse of news reporting at the Voice of America.

While VOA keeps completely silent on this news, many international and U.S. media outlets have reported on it in the last three and a half hours — BBC in English and Ukrainian and Voice of Russia in English and Russian being some of the first. Russia’s popular international media outlet RT reported that “the White House announced that US Vice President Joe Biden called Yanukovich to warn him of exactly the same thing.” [against imposing a state of emergency]

[Biden] underscored that the US condemns the use of violence by any side, and warned that declaring a State of Emergency or enacting other harsh security measures would further inflame the situation and close the space for a peaceful resolution,” the White House said. “Opposition leaders reject posts in Ukraine government,” RT.

Voice of America poster for a bingo night social sponsored by upper management. An earlier (2014) employee morale boosting BBG management initiative at taxpayers’ expense.

UPDATE: As of 11:00 PM EST This being a “Bingo Night” designated by the Voice of America management, no VOA language service, including its flagship VOA English language news website or websites of VOA Ukrainian and VOA Russian services, is reporting on today’s phone call between Vice President Joe Biden and Ukraine’s President Yanukovych. VOA Ukrainian and VOA Russian websites and Facebook pages have not been updated for a few hours. VOA English website also has seen very few updates in the last hours and none on Ukraine.

Voice of America is also not reporting on the content of the White House statement on the phone call and Biden’s strong appeal for a peaceful solution to the crisis in Ukraine. The White House statement was released more than three hours ago. It was reported more than two hours ago by BBC in English and Ukrainian, by Voice of Russia in English and Russian, by The Washington Post, Politico, ABC News, Channel News Asia, The Telegraph in the UK, and many other international and U.S. news media outlets. Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which like Voice of America is also funded by U.S. taxpayers and supervised by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), has reported on the Biden-Yanukovych phone call. “Ukraine Parliament Bids To Defuse Unrest,” RFE/RL.

UPDATE: As of 10:45 PM EST, neither Voice of America English language news website nor foreign language websites, including VOA Ukrainian and and Russian services, are reporting on the phone call earlier today between Vice President Biden and Ukraine’s President Yanukovych or the White House statement about the phone call, which was released nearly three hours ago. BBC and Voice of Russia reported on the phone call almost immediately. The Washington Post had the news more than two hours ago: Biden calls Ukraine leader, urges end to standoff Washington Post – ‎2 hours ago‎ WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden says there’s no time to lose in bringing about a peaceful resolution to a standoff between Ukraine’s government and protesters.Biden called Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych  on Monday. Voice of Russia reported on the Biden-Yanukovych phone call in both English and Russian. BBC reported on the phone call in both English and Ukrainian.

UPDATE: As of 10:15 PM EST, the Voice of America English website is still not reporting on the Biden-Yanukovych phone call and the White House statement released more than two hours ago. BBC reported on the phone call about two hours ago.

VOA Ukrainian Service and VOA Russian Service are also not reporting on their websites about the phone call. VOA Ukrainian Service has not updated its website or its Facebook page for about three hours. VOA management has not provided the service with resources to update its website 24/7. No other VOA language service is reporting on the latest statement from the White House on the situation in Ukraine.

While Voice of America is completely silent on this news, Voice of Russia has already reported in English on the Biden-Yanukovych phone call. Biden urges Yanukovych to pull back riot police, Voice of Russia. Voice of Russia posted its news at 8:37 PM EST at about the same time as BBC.

While Voice of America Russian Service kept silence, Voice of Russia also reported on its Russian language website on the Biden-Yanukovych phone call. Байден: Введение режима ЧП на Украине закроет пути для мирного исхода, Voice of Russia.

As an aside, Voice of America management has been promoting a “Bingo Night” tonight at the VOA building in Washington, DC.

UPDATE As of 9:20 PM EST, neither the Voice America English language news website, VOA Ukrainian Service website, VOA Russian Service website nor any other VOA language website is reporting on today’s Biden-Yanukovych phone call. The White House released its statement about the phone call at approximately 8:00 PM EST. BBC immediately mentioned the phone call and the White House statement in its report posted as number one news story on BBC’s English language news website. BBC Ukrainian Service picked it up as well.

Joe BidenBBC has reported that U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden spoke by telephone with Ukraine’s President Victor Yanukovych late on Monday “to express Washington’s support for on-going negotiation to bring about a peaceful, political solution to the crisis.”

The U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) website is still not reporting this news as of 9:00 PM EST, more than an hour after the White House released its statement on the phone call.

See BBC report: “Ukraine ‘to scrap’ anti-protest law,” BBC, Jan. 27, 2014, which includes two paragraphs the Biden-Yanukovych phone calls

Biden stressed that “the U.S. condemns the use of violence by any side, and warned that declaring a State of Emergency or enacting other harsh security measures would further inflame the situation and close the space for a peaceful resolution,” the White House statement said.

VOA Ukrainian and VOA Russian websites also have not yet reported on today’s Biden-Yanukovych phone call and the White House statement.

VOA English homepage screenshot taken at 8:47 PM EST shows only an older report on Ukraine which as of that time has no reference to the latest U.S. effort by Vice President Biden to encourage the Ukrainian government to reach a negotiated solution with the opposition and to avoid further violence.

VOA Homepage Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 9.00 PM EST shows  one old report on Ukraine which has no reference to the Biden-Yanukovych phone call or the White House statement.
VOA Homepage Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 9.00 PM EST shows one old report on Ukraine which has no reference to the Biden-Yanukovych phone call or the White House statement.

The VOA English website has become notorious for missing important news stories and for reporting on others with long delays. VOA English News had failed to report at all on one of the previous phone calls between Vice President Biden and President Yanukovych. It also had failed to report on Secretary Kerry’s statement on Ukraine last Friday.

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THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
———————————————
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2014

Readout of Vice President Biden’s Call with President Yanukovych of Ukraine

Vice President Biden called Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to express U.S. support for on-going negotiations between the government and the opposition to end the current standoff and bring about a peaceful, political solution to the crisis.

He underscored that the U.S. condemns the use of violence by any side, and warned that declaring a State of Emergency or enacting other harsh security measures would further inflame the situation and close the space for a peaceful resolution.

Underscoring that no time should be lost, the Vice President urged President Yanukovych to pull back riot police and work with the opposition on immediate measures to de-escalate tensions between protesters and the government. He also urged the government to take concrete steps during tomorrow’s parliamentary session to respond to the full and legitimate concerns of the Ukrainian people, including by repealing the anti-democratic laws passed on January 16.

Finally, the Vice President reaffirmed the unwavering support of the United States for a Ukraine that rejects violence and that respects the human rights and dignity of its citizens in accordance with their European aspirations and their desire to restore their country back to economic health.

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