No News Is Bad News

OLEG NIKISHIN for TIME

LEAN TIMES: In a nation living below the poverty line, a woman in Litki, near Kiev, offers vegetables for sale

Every week Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma's staff sends out a missive to all the country's television, radio and newspaper outlets. Known as temniki, "theme lists," the directives outline the issues to be covered in news reports and provide instructions on how these issues are to be treated. For example, when mass protests take place — the most recent, in September, drew 100,000 people in the capital, Kiev — photographers are told to start taking pictures only after most of the demonstrators have departed, resulting in shots of a few stragglers milling around in a public square instead of tens of thousands...

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