Facebook Status Update from Vera Kholmgorova, Donetsk Journalist (translated by William Risch, Georgia College):
Reflections. About convictions, journalism, and professional ethics. Stirred up by yesterday’s events (April 28, 2014).
The Russian news agency ITAR-TASS presented news about supporters of Russia brutally breaking up a meeting for Ukraine in Donetsk as Ukrainian fascists from Right Sector attacking a peaceful march against commemorations of the SS Galicia division’s founding.
Yes. Exactly that. There are a lot of sources on the web, so I won’t give them here.
It’s awful, especially for those who were there yesterday (including some, like myself, who were there for professional reasons). And it’s strange, to be honest.
Russian propaganda has known no shame. For a long time. And it was never ashamed. And now it’s even less ashamed, because there wouldn’t have been anything surprising, let’s say, if there appeared news on TASS about brave Russian patriots beating up a marginal handful of supporters in Donetsk, a group far fewer than them. They gave them all a good drubbing. And they proudly left. Our boot is mighty and etc. And why be ashamed of that, actually?
Yes, it would be distorted, it would be ideologically dressed up, but at least it would have had some correlation to reality. However, no. Russian propaganda for some reason gives a scene COMPLETELY different from what actually happened. A mythical anti-fascist march. A mythical Right Sector…
It really is strange. In the end, you don’t have to love Ukraine. You can even deny its right to exist as a sovereign state. Yes, I and millions of others don’t agree with that. For us, it’s painful. It’s frightening. But such a position, like any other one, has a right to exist and be defended by its supporters.
So why don’t they stand up for theirs? They could write honestly about it, like the followers of the Donetsk People’s Republic in social media: We’re coming with surgical instruments to remove everything Ukrainian. And we’ve arrived.
Actually, this is a story that needs serious reflection. The number of lies is overstepping – has already overstepped – all limits. This can’t keep going on without end. The truth will get out, sooner or later. And then what will happen to Russians’ minds?
But there’s one more thing I’d also like to say. People who present news like this call themselves journalists. I’ll say it again – they can have the most different views. And absolute objectivity does not exist, even more so in our profession. But you’re a journalist. You see a crowd passing by with Ukrainian flags, and you write that there’s a crowd of Russia supporters, anti-fascists, marching.
I honestly don’t understand it. The choice to become a journalist is a conscious choice in an absolute majority of cases. Yes, our arguments for it often are romantic and naïve, but it’s a choice. It’s not selling cheeseburgers at McDonald’s – “Come on up, we’re open.” It’s not about becoming a loader or a waiter, it’s not about a choice made out of a lack of alternatives or because you don’t know what you want to do with your life.
Fine, you believe, fine, you take journalism as propaganda, not as an honest profession, but you see that you’re lying. More to the point, you generally pass on complete fabrications. You don’t distort the truth to suit your own purposes, but you just make things up. How!? Don’t you tremble somewhere inside? It seems to me that people who really wanted to be journalists can’t be like you.
Or maybe I don’t understand anything in this crazy world.
The latter is more likely.