12/01/2004

Ukraine journalist signs silent protest

The sign-language interpreter on a Ukrainian TV station Thursday staged a silent protest against the nation's election by signing, They are lying.

During a news report on state-owned UT-1 that called Viktor Vanukovych the winner of the presidential election, Natalya Dmitruk told viewers in sign language, I am addressing all the deaf citizens of Ukraine. Our president is (Viktor) Yushchenko. Don't believe what they say. They are lying.

Dmitruk then went back to signing the news report but digressed one more time at the end: My soul is heavy that I had to repeat these lies. I will not do it again. I don't know if we'll see each other again.

In the past week, many Ukrainian TV journalists have protested against government restrictions on election reporting.

Dmitruk told The Moscow Times Sunday that she felt a special responsibility to speak her mind. The deaf don't have any other option for getting television news, she said about the reports she does daily on UT-1 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

I figured they could fire me, but I wasn't scared. The only thing I was worried about was that they might get rid of the sign-language news."

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