BBG Watch Commentary

BBC Homepage Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.44PM EDT
BBC Homepage Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.44PM EDT. Russia’s Putin ‘backs 25 May election’ remained BBC’s top news story on its homepage for many hours.

Yesterday, U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) loaded headlines and reports (more like commentaries) were painting an image of the Ukrainian government in Kyiv as desperate, unpopular and near collapse, so when President Putin said today that the presidential election in Ukraine, called by the Ukrainian government, might be a step in the right direction, we were wondering whether VOA English News would report Putin’s intriguing u-turn comment.

VOA English News initially did not report Putin’s comment on the May 25 Ukrainian presidential election. UPDATE: VOA News later added just one sentence: “In another reversal, Putin said that presidential elections in Ukraine, scheduled for May 25, would be ‘a move in the right direction’.”

Most other media outlets, including Al Jazeera, BBC, and Voice of Russia, did report and highlight Putin’s remark immediately. They did it because it was a very significant comment for Putin to make, whether one believes in the honesty of his statements or not. VOA English News only reported initially that Putin had asked pro-Kremlin separatists in eastern Ukraine to postpone a series of controversial referenda planned for this weekend.


VOA Screenshot 5-7-14 12.30PM EDT. Voice of America later expanded this report but still did not include Putin's comment about the May 25 Ukrainian presidential election.
VOA Screenshot 5-7-14 12.30PM EDT. Voice of America later expanded this report and included one sentence Putin’s comment about the May 25th Ukrainian presidential election. Al Jazeera and BBC reported Putin’s comment immediately and gave it more than one sentence. BBC gave it a separate report.

BBC News Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg reported:

Steve Rosenberg, BBC News, Moscow The one thing Vladimir Putin is not known for is performing U-turns.

But his latest comments on Ukraine do suggest a shift in the Kremlin’s position – and that raises hope, at least, of a diplomatic solution to the conflict. (…)

He said the Ukrainian presidential election was “a step in the right direction”. Only a few days ago, his spokesman described the idea of holding such an election as “absurd”.

Putin ‘backs’ Ukraine election
Wed, May 07, 2014
Source: BBC World News (UK)

Al Jazeera reported:

AL JAZEERA: Ukraine plans separately to stage snap presidential elections on May 25 that Russia had denounced as “absurd” because of the ongoing military standoff between separatists and Kiev forces.

But Putin appeared to soften his approach to the national election by calling it a tentative step in the right direction.

“I would like to stress that the presidential elections planned in Kiev, while they are a move in the right direction, will not decide anything if all the citizens of Ukraine fail to understand how their rights are protected after the elections are held,” Putin said.

Putin urges Ukraine referenda delay
Wed, May 07, 2014
Source: Al Jazeera News (Middle East)

Voice of Russia reported: “Vladimir Putin says the upcoming Ukrainian presidential election is a step in the right direction but it will solve nothing unless all Ukrainian citizens understand the way their rights will be guaranteed.” Read more: Claims that Moscow holds key to resolving crisis in Ukraine are Western ploy – President Putin, Voice of Russia, May 7, 2014.

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