WASHINGTON, D.C. —At a celebration at VOA headquarters in Washington honoring the launch, on December 12, 1949, of VOA’s first broadcast in Ukrainian, that nation’s ambassador announced that a journalist in the Ukrainian Service will receive a prestigious honor from Kyiv.
Ambassador Oleksandr Motsyk said that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has awarded Myroslava Gongadze with the Order of Princess Olga, a Ukrainian civil decoration bestowed on women of outstanding personal merit. The award, the ambassador said, is for Gongadze’s “personal contribution to the development of journalism, active civic efforts, and high professional skills.” Gongadze is anchor of the Ukrainian Service’s flagship TV program Chas-Time, a news and current affairs program that is broadcast daily throughout Ukraine in primetime.
The ambassador also brought with him a message from President Poroshenko praising the Ukrainian Service for “its contribution to the formation of a free democratic Ukraine.” By telling the truth about events in Ukraine, the president said, the service was assisting “the defenders of democracy in winning not only on battlefields, but also in human souls.”
In addition to Ambassador Motsyk, U.S. diplomats, human rights experts, representatives of the Ukrainian-American community, along with past and present members of the Ukrainian Service, joined VOA Director David Ensor in honoring the service on its 65th anniversary.
VOA Ukrainian was a beacon of freedom for Ukrainians throughout the Cold War, and it remains so today, as it faces intense pressure from Russian President Putin. “No one could have predicted,” said VOA Director Ensor, “that this past year would be one of the most important years in Ukrainian history.” During the Euromaiden protests as well as during the violent government crackdown and the Russian aggression, Ensor said, VOA’s Ukrainian Service always rose to the challenge of keeping its audience informed.
That audience, aside from being informed, is also large, the largest of any international broadcaster in Ukraine. According to the latest research, almost one in five adults in Ukraine – 18 percent – watch VOA Ukrainian TV programs weekly.
Adrian Karmazyn, Chief of VOA Ukrainian, said he was “honored to work with such a talented and dedicated team of journalists who have such a tremendous and positive impact on the media environment in Ukraine.”
Praise for the service also came from Capitol Hill. Representative Chris Van Hollen said, “through its daily reporting on U.S. politics, foreign policy, social issues, business, culture and the arts, VOA provides comprehensive, accurate and authoritative information that Ukrainians can employ in strengthening their nascent democracy, market economy and independent statehood.”
In addition to Chas-Time, a daily 15-minute TV program, the service broadcasts a weekly 20-minute magazine program called Window on America. It also recently began broadcasting, in Russian, a five-minute daily TV news segment called Studio Washington that targets Russian-speaking Ukrainians.