Voice of America Ukrainian Service’s 65Th Anniversaryby Senator John McCain
Posted on 2014-12-12
McCAIN. Madam President, today I honor Voice of America's
Ukrainian Service as it celebrates its 65th anniversary this week. VOA
has distinguished itself among the very best news organizations in the
world. For over 65 years, from the dark days of Stalin's rule to the
regime of Vladimir Putin, VOA has served as a beacon of truth for
Ukrainian citizens. Throughout the Cold War, VOA supported the struggle
for freedom and gave hope to citizens living under repressive rule in
Soviet Ukraine. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, VOA was the
first to pick up the call of independence and take advantage of new
opportunities to speak freely to the Ukrainian people.
The organization's long history of comprehensive reporting and objective, reliable coverage proved ever more important in November 2013 when demonstrations broke out against then-President Yanukovych's decision not to sign an association agreement with Europe. Through all of this, VOA provided live video streaming and multimedia reporting from the center of the EuroMaidan demonstrations and was one of the few news outlets fully covering Russia's annexation of Crimea. In its coverage, the world saw the spirit of the Ukrainian people and stood with them in their struggle for democracy, human rights, and the values of the transatlantic community. Through its continued coverage today, the world is now witness to Russia's aggression and invasion.
More recently, VOA has been a critical source of information for the Ukrainian people as Russia continues to advance its propaganda campaign across the region, spreading disinformation and undermining the efforts of Ukraine's EuroMaidan reformers. Putin's control of information is a key part of his strategy to rebuild post-Soviet Russia through aggression, and he uses disinformation as a tool to complement his transnational military campaigns and subvert democratic growth and development in Ukraine and across Eastern Europe. At a time when Putin's propaganda machine is working to deny reality and distort perceptions, Ukrainians rely heavily on VOA's credibility and accuracy, and its message of freedom, hope and human dignity.
VOA's reporters have worked under difficult and at times dangerous conditions. Previous governments have attempted to manipulate the media through repression and intimidation, and journalists were often arrested or detained. Today, journalists attempting to report on the conflict in eastern Ukraine are being harassed, intimidated, and physically attacked, constantly under threat of Russian thuggery. But this has not stopped the brave men and women working for VOA Ukrainian Service. They have worked through trying times, but have always maintained the integrity and professionalism to which all journalists can aspire.
Over the last 65 years, VOA has delivered thoughtful, comprehensive, and honest reporting when the Ukrainian people needed it most. I thank all members of VOA Ukrainian Service, past and present, for their tireless efforts and congratulate the organization on its 65th anniversary. Thank you for the work you do in service to the people of Ukraine and the shared values we hold dear. Together, and with the information you provide, we can achieve the democratic aspirations of our people and make the world a better, safer place for all citizens.