BBG Watch Commentary

U.S. Senators in Kyiv 3-14-14. Their talks today with Ukrainian government officials were not reported by Voice of America.
U.S. Senators in Kyiv 3-14-14. Their talks today with Ukrainian government officials were not reported by Voice of America.

Voice of America English news website has not reported on the talks in Kyiv today between leaders of the Ukrainian government and a bipartisan U.S. Congressional delegation led by Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin.

Voice of America senior executives apparently went home for the weekend without providing VOA Ukrainian and Russian services with resources to report online on the Congressional visit to Ukraine. They apparently also failed to make arrangements to cover news this weekend from the White House after business hours.

According to an earlier report in The Daily Beast, the delegation was to include also John Barrasso (R-WY), John Hoeven (R-ND), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

BBG Watch was able to confirm that Senators Durbin, McCain, Whitehouse, and Murphy were definitely in Kyiv today. We were not able to confirm whether the other U.S. Senators were also there. Such reporting would have been expected from Voice of America, but VOA failed to provide it. Senator Ron Johnson retweeted a tweet from Senator McCain. Senator Jeff Flake tweeted on March 12 after a meeting in the U.S. with visiting Ukrainian PM Arseniy Yatseniuk that he was looking forward to visiting Ukraine in the next few days.

Senator Barrasso also had an earlier tweet about Ukraine.

VOA mentioned that a Congressional delegation was going to travel to Kyiv and be there Friday, but as of 10:00 PM EDT Friday, hours after the end of the day in Kyiv, VOA had no reports about the visit.

U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America also has not reported today on the White House announcement of Vice President Joe Biden’s trip next week to Poland and Lithuania to discuss Ukraine, Russia, and regional security issues. Both Poland and Lithuania are NATO members and feel threatened by the Russian military intervention in Crimea.

As of 9:00 PM EDT Friday, neither the announcement of Vice President Biden’s visit to Poland and Lithuania nor the talks in Kyiv between the Ukrainian government and the U.S. Congressional delegation were reported on the VOA English news website.

Unian news agency reported that First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Vitaliy Yarema, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Andriy Parubiy and chairman of SBU Valentyn Nalyvaychenko discussed the situation in Crimea with the U.S. delegation. U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt also participated in the talks, the agency reported.

VOA executives and the news organization’s management body, the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), which controls most of the budget, have so far failed to provide sufficient resources to the VOA newsroom and VOA Ukrainian and Russian services. These services are unable to regularly update their websites, as well as their Facebook and Twitter pages, while VOA English newsroom lacks both staff and good managers.

Voice of Russia, on the other hand, reported on the announcement of President Biden’s trip to Poland and Lithuania almost immediately after it was released by the White House at about 7:00 PM EDT Friday.

Fri, Mar 14, 2014
Source: Voice of Russia (Russia)

BBC also reported on the trip almost immediately after the announcement was made. VOA reports on Ukraine on VOA’s main English website have not been updated for several hours. VOA Ukrainian and Russian websites also have not yet reported on Biden’s trip to Central Europe to discuss Ukraine and regional security or on today’s talks in Kyiv by a bipartisan U.S. Congressional delegation.

As of 10 PM EDT Friday, except for two posts, one eight and another one four hours old, the latest posts on the VOA Ukrainian Facebook page are two days old.

Despite numerous complaints, VOA management has not provided Ukrainian and Russian services with sufficient resources to regularly update their websites and social media pages during this crisis.