BBG Watch Commentary

4:00 AM EST UPDATE: VOA English audio newscast accessed online at 4:00 AM EST Friday was a repeat of the 3:00 AM newscast and still did not include any information about the preliminary deal reached between the opposition and the government in Kyiv. It appears that VOA management allows repeating of radio newscasts without updating them.

UPDATE: Around 3:00 AM EST Friday morning, VOA English news website finally posted a short text report that Ukraine opposition activists and the government have agreed to sign a preliminary deal.

The report still made no mention of the Thursday afternoon Biden-Yanukovych phone call.

Also, VOA English five-minute audio newscast accessed online at 3:10 AM EST, Friday, February 21, still had nothing about the deal reached in Kyiv and included mostly outdated information from the previous day. The audio newscast heard at 3:10 AM had a report from Paris about the EU sanctions against the Yanukovych government, but the reporter said nothing about the Biden phone call and the threat of U.S. sanctions.

BBG Watch is also reporting that as of 3:30 AM EST Friday, the Voice of America Ukrainian Service Twitter account has not been updated for more than 8 hours, while the Service’s Facebook page has not been loading Thursday evening and early Friday morning. It appears that VOA executives have not given the VOA Ukrainian Service resources to update its social media accounts on a regular basis and to fix technical problems.

Joe BidenIn yet another news reporting failure by the U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America, VOA Newsroom posted no news report on a phone call between Vice President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych on Thursday, February 20, in which Biden reportedly threatened U.S. sanctions if the government in Kyiv continues to use force against civilian demonstrators. Unlike, BBC, Russia’s RT, and RFE/RL, Voice of America also has failed to report early Friday morning about the announced deal between President Yanukovych and the opposition, which was reached during all-night negotiations.

Other international media, including BBC, RFE/RL and Germany’s Deutsche Welle (DW), had reports on Thursday’s Biden-Yanukovych phone call, but the VOA Newsroom appears to have shut down for the night and was not updating its main Ukraine news report for several hours. A VOA English newscast at 2:00 AM Friday had no mention of the phone call or a renewed threat of U.S. sanctions.

US vice president threatens Ukraine with additional sanctions
Fri, Feb 21, 2014
Source: DW (Germany)

VOA English News coverage of events in Ukraine has improved somewhat during the day Thursday after many spectacular failures in recent weeks. There was a comprehensive report from Washington-based VOA correspondents posted earlier in the day Thursday on the VOA website. But after VOA correspondents sent in their reports, which mentioned the White House expressing outrage at what it called “images of Ukrainian security forces firing automatic weapons on their own people,” the VOA Newsroom made no attempt to update them with new information, which came later in the day, about the Biden-Yanukovych phone call.

The VOA report on the English news website had nothing about the phone call. Most, if not all, VOA language services also failed to report on it, and no information about it was included in VOA English newscasts Thursday afternoon and early Friday morning.

Because of this failure by the VOA Central Newsroom, even the VOA Ukrainian Service website did not have a report on the Thursday Biden-Yanukovych phone call. The VOA Russian Service website also had nothing on the phone call. It appears that not a single VOA language service reported that Vice President Biden had talked on the phone with President Yanukovych late Thursday afternoon.

It also appears that despite many recent news reporting failures of similar nature and strong criticism from VOA journalists and outside observers, VOA Director David Ensor and VOA Executive Editor Steve Redisch still have not made arrangements for updating news on the VOA English website during off hours and providing news to more than 40 VOA foreign language services.

While Voice of America did not report on the Biden-Yanukovych phone call, made Thursday afternoon Washington time, both Deutsche Welle, BBC and RFE/RL did.

And in yet another news reporting failure, as of 2:30 AM EST Friday, Voice of America appears to be the only major international news organization not reporting that Ukraine’s presidential press service says an “initial” agreement on resolving the country’s ongoing crisis was reached at all-night talks.

This has been the top news on BBC and RFE/RL websites for some time, while the VOA English news website has not been updated for several hours.

 BBC Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 2.33 AM EST

BBC Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 2.33 AM EST

RT Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 2.35 AM EST

RT Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 2.35 AM EST

VOA Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 2.34 AM EST

VOA Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 2.34 AM EST


The White House
Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release February 20, 2014

Readout of Vice President Biden’s Call with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych

The Vice President and President Yanukovych spoke by telephone this afternoon. The Vice President strongly condemned the violence against civilians in Kyiv. He called upon President Yanukovych to immediately pull back all security forces – police, snipers, military and paramilitary units, and irregular forces. The Vice President made clear that the United States is prepared to sanction those officials responsible for the violence. The Vice President urged President Yanukovych to take immediate and tangible steps to work with the opposition on a path forward that addresses the legitimate aspirations of the Ukrainian people. The Vice President underscored that the United States supports an independent, democratic Ukraine that pursues the future its people choose.