Mustafa Dzemilev in front of Crimean Tatar protesters (May 2014)

Mustafa Dzemilev in front of Crimean Tatar protesters (May 2014) 


Mustafa Dzhemilev, the longtime leader of the Crimean Tatars, says that he is part of an effort to create a new information network in Crimea and to have Kyiv television broadcast one or two hours a day to the occupied peninsula in order to counter Russian propaganda and prevent the “zombification” of its residents.

Speaking at a meeting yesterday of the SOS Crimea initiative, Dzhemilev said that this was such an important task that he would give the money he has received for various prizes this year to help get it started, noting that the channels would have to be staffed by professional journalists, legal specialists and others who could provide expert commentaries.

He said that this network as well as Crimea-centered broadcasts from Kyiv was needed not only to help the people of the occupied peninsula but also to ensure that “the Crimea issue not fall off the pages of the Ukrainian and the international press.”  There is too much going on and too much at stake for that to happen.

Although the Crimean Tatar leader did not speak to this aspect of the issue, there is clearly a role for international broadcasters to play in Crimea as well. The Russian and Ukrainian services of such broadcasters should have dedicated programming for Crimea, and their Turkic and Tatar services should be expanded to assist in that effort.

Indeed, it is clearly long past time to begin thinking about creating a Crimean Tatar service at one or more of these stations, any one of which would be able to broadcast television and FM from Ukrainian territory not occupied by Russian forces or via shortwave from further away.

Setting up such services would not only help Dzhemilev and others counter what Russian propaganda is doing and prevent Crimea from slipping further and further away from Ukraine but also would send a powerful message, just as Western broadcasting did during the Cold War, that the West has not and will not forget the people of Crimea.

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