Ukraine tells its Media how to cover North Korea scandal

The news that North Korea may have bought powerful rocket engines from a Ukrainian factory shocked the entire world. Cooperation with North Korea is not characteristic of Ukrainian especially after the Maidan revolution. Still there’s nothing to be surprised at. Nothing has changed in Ukraine since it became independent 25 years ago. The values the Ukrainian people stood up for in 2014 have failed to take roots in the country so far.

Corruption, anarchy, and repressions against its own citizens — this is the reality in the present day Ukraine. The country has gained a scandalous reputation since the time it started asserting itself on the international political arena. There are attacks on gay parades in Kiev, attempts to limit freedom of speech and movements of European politicians by introducing the so-called ‘black lists’. Add here the endless dispute with Poland over the Kiev’s effort to portray as heroes the Volhynia massacre participants, and the radiation threat to Europe due to numerous accidents on the outdated Ukrainian nuclear power plants. This is how the world sees Ukraine now.

The Ukrainian authorities in their reaction to the scandal over ballistic missile engines came up with their habitual accusations against Russia. Everything is quite logical and predictable. Deputy minister of information policy of Ukraine Zolotukhin has released recommendations for the mass media on what they are allowed to do and what they should focus on in news coverage of the leakage from the strategically important facility into the unfriendly state.

The Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine (hereinafter — the Ministry) taking into consideration the recently appeared accusations of Ukraine in cooperation with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is addressing TV channels and Internet mass media with the following.

It is requested that in news coverage of this incident the explanation of the emerged misconception should be based on three basic points:

- Ukraine opposes the North Korea nuclear program and is wholly supportive of the sanctions against the country;
- Ukrainian officials have never been on any cooperation terms aimed at technology exchanges with North Korea or trading rocket engines with it;
- the original American mass media articles on “Ukrainian engines” in North Korea had been ordered by Russian secret services and the foes of Ukraine.

With the scandal already having found international resonance and being in progress due to independent reasons, the Ministry believes it appropriate to concentrate the mass media attention on the defense of the international image of the Ukrainian state power structures by disclosing real data on outer forces’ involvement into the work of the PA Yuzhmash. It’s to be noted in mass media relevant publications that the plant is located in the city of Dnipro abundant with the supporters of the DPR and LPR terrorist groupings. Among the plant’s personnel there are numerous so called “Soviet mold” staffers who could have made copies of documents and got into private talks with the North Korea representatives just on their own, due to their political or profiteering motives. Moreover, foreign intelligence services’ moles could have been planted into Yuzhnoe Design Bureau so that to trade in technologies with the aim of subsequent discretization of Ukraine. Mass media should cite the SBU sources and make it known for wide public and foreign journalists that Ukrainian secret services and law-enforcement agencies are applying vigorous effort to restore order at the PA Yuzhmash. In particular, they are engaged in conducting interrogations, ransacking offices, and exempting documents with the aim of revealing the active spying network.

The ministry actively recommends that mass media outlets should consistently mention in their reports that Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Ukroboronprom have nothing to do with the ballistic missile launches in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The row over “the Ukrainian engines” has once again testified to the existence of the threats from the puppet regime of the occupied territories and to the activity of the numerous supporters of separatists in Dnipropetrovsk region prompting the need of the PA Yuzhmash being moved to the area maximally distanced from the ATO zone.

The results of this letter consideration are requested to be delivered to the Ministry in a written or electronic form up till August 17, 2017.

Deputy Minister 
D. Zolotukhin

In fact, Ukrainian mass media have gotten the instruction from above to fabricate data and artificially mold public opinion in the prescribed direction. In particular, all the links with North Korea are to be denied, and all the initial news released by the American tabloids should be declared the planted ones. The Ukrainian ministry is set to put the responsibility on the shoulders of the Yuzhmash staffers having “Soviet background” and some would-be foreign agents. Also, numerous episodes with interrogations, searches and document exemptions aimed at exposing a whole spying cell, are being mentioned. 
 
All these things don’t amount to any defense of the state international image. It looks more like a la Stalin reprisals and direct violation of press and speech freedoms in Ukraine. The authorities are least inclined to conduct any objective investigation. They aren’t set to apply measures with the aim of changing rules of working with secret documents, boosting security at the plant, or inviting international experts and observers. These are just usual steps that any civilized state would make in similar circumstances. Instead Kiev came out with the directive on the informational manipulation with facts to adjust the fakes to inner and outer political environment, foreign mass media being in the know about it.

What is real is that, willingly or not, the treaty on nuclear non-proliferation has been violated and the grave threat to global security has emerged. But Ukrainian authorities are again turning things inside out, putting stake not on finding solution of the problem but rather on making a grandstand play for the international community. It is pure formalism and lack of flexibility. Further development of Ukraine is hampered by this exactly approach once again and this is also the reason why Ukraine, still not a part of the EU, has got to make rather a long way yet to reach this “great purpose”.