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State-Controlled Media: Ukraine Crisis

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The BBC reports: “ The EU and U. condemned the ‘ annexation’ of Crimea and imposed sanctions on Russian and Ukrainian officials” (“ Ukraine in Maps” ). The report frames the issue in ways that immediately place Russia as the enemy of Crimea, Ukraine, and the West, without fully providing details of what happened in Crimea and how it is connected to Ukraine. Vladimir Golstein of The Nation criticizes how Western media covers the Ukraine crisis. He undercuts the manipulation of facts by the media through the example of Western coverage on the burning of pro-Russians in Odessa: “ the Western press dutifully refers to ‘ the clashes between pro Ukrainian and pro-Russians, ’ without any explanation as to why several dozen unarmed citizens of Ukraine were burned alive in an Odessa building” (Golstein).

The Western media framing of the crisis serves to only over-simplify the issue by immediately showing compassion for the Ukrainian state and supporters and denigration for the Russian state. The impact is fanning the flames of old official narratives about evil, communist, authoritarian Russia, and the benevolent, freedom-giving, democratic West. Aside from the West, the Ukrainian and Russian states and supporters also influence the media so that it will report a frame that benefits each of them in the eyes of the civil society because they want a public sphere that supports their political and economic interests.

The BBC provides some information of what some of these basic economic interests are. The West has an economic interest in Ukraine that will be cemented through the loan they will provide to the latter: “ With funds from other donors [from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)], including the EU, the total package will be worth £ 32.1bn” (“ Ukraine in Maps” ).

Other economic interests are also political because it concerns energy needs. Ukraine imports majority of its gas and oil from Russia, while around one-third of Europe's gas also comes from Russia, where around half goes through Ukraine (“ Ukraine in Maps” ). Ukraine media benefits then from being more pro-West than pro-Russia because of the loan it needs to aid its struggling economy.

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