Freedom House special report on the media and Ukraine's October 2004 elections
Five months before the crucial October 2004 national election, the current state of Ukraine's media raises serious questions as to whether a fair and balanced electoral contest can be held. Political and other groups critical of the incumbent president and the ruling political elite are kept from the airwaves. An elaborate system of censorship, including instructions emanating from the offices of the presidential administration, distorts news and skews coverage of political affairs. Mass broadcast media exhibit a high degree of uniformity and bias in their coverage. Such phenomena- already significantly present in news coverage of the 2002 parliamentary elections and in the 1999 presidential election, have intensified the run-up to the 2004 presidential race. All signs indicate the inability of the media to offer unbiased election information, with intimidation from the authorities the chief cause.
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