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December 1, 2004

Deaf viewers get a political slant

From: Newsday - Long Island,NY,USA - Dec 1, 2004


December 1, 2004

KIEV, Ukraine - Deaf viewers watching state-run television after the Nov. 21 presidential runoff got a radically different message from most in the audience.

The official declaration: Prime Minister Viktor Yanu- kovych had won. The sign language version: "The results announced by the Central Election Commission are rigged. Do not believe them."

Natalya Dymitruk had been asked to relay the declaration to the hearing impaired in UT-1 television's audience. Her act of defiance highlighted cracks in the government's attempts to control the media following the contested runoff. With hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians pouring into the streets of Kiev to protest alleged fraud and support opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko, dozens of journalists from state-run or pro-government TV stations went on strike and joined the demonstrators.

Few went as far as Dymi- truk, who also apologized for conveying previous official statements, saying she was "sorry for being obliged to lie ... and I will not do it again."

She said yesterday that hers "was not a spontaneous move" and that those who rely on sign language deserve facts, not bias. It was unclear yesterday whether she had faced any disciplinary measures.

Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.