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Kyiv Launches Bilingual TV Channel For Russian-Occupied Crimea, Eastern Ukraine


Parliament deputy Mykyta Poturayev said the editorial policy of Dom will be to not repeat Russian propaganda. (file photo)

Ukraine's Culture Ministry has unveiled a new television channel that has started broadcasting in Russia-occupied Crimea and parts of the easternmost Donetsk and Luhansk regions that the government in Kyiv doesn't control.

Called Dom (Home), the channel started the pilot broadcast on March 1, said Yulia Ostrovska, the acting CEO of public broadcaster UATV.

During the presentation in Kyiv, she noted that "54 percent of people in the occupied territories don't have access to Ukrainian television channels and 43 percent can't access Ukrainian websites."

One of the channel's goals is the "de-occupation of consciousness" of Ukrainians, Ostrovska added.

It was in reference to Russia's takeover of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula in early 2014 and subsequent support of pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine in a conflict that has killed more than 13,000 people.

However, the channel might not be available to residents of Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine due to electronic warfare methods, said Mykyta Poturayev, a member of parliament who took part in delivering the presentation.

The channel will get its content from the existing major Ukrainian TV networks, including about 15 percent from the studio that brought current President Volodymyr Zelenskiy fame as an actor and comedian.

As such, it will be available to digital, not analogue, TV owners.

Anchors on the channels will speak both Ukrainian, the state language, and Russian, the predominant language spoken in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.

News also will be delivered in the Ukrainian and Russian languages and cover national and regional news.

Poturayev said the editorial policy of Dom will not be to repeat Russian propaganda messages.

"Nobody on this channel will talk about 'rebels,' 'civil war,' and will not call Russian tanks 'pink unicorns' who came with love, from Russia with love," he said.

The combined 2020 budget for the channel and state-run Ukrinform news agency is 257 million hryvnyas ($10 million).

Among the consultants employed at the channel are people from the 112 Ukrayina channel, a TV network affiliated with pro-Russian lawmaker Viktor Medvedchuk, whose daughter's godfather is Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to deputy presidential office head Kyrylo Tymoshenko, who also took part in the presentation.

With reporting by Ukrayinska pravda and Hromadske
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