New media phenomenon: street television
RFE/RL Poland, Belarus and Ukraine Report
KYIV - Ukraine has seen the advent of a new form of information technology: street television.
The August 6 issue of the newspaper Fakty described the new phenomenon as follows.
"On a busy street, in a courtyard, or simply on a city square, [technicians] unfold a screen measuring two by three meters and install a television camera to project its 'picture' onto the screen. There are also loudspeakers nearby, allowing [people] (including those in neighboring buildings) to listen to what is said by participants in an open discussion. A man with the microphone essentially speaks to everybody standing nearby, and at the same time, can see himself on the screen. Naturally, there is also a moderator on an improvised rostrum. He asks questions and often speaks on his own behalf.
"However, all this does not resemble an ordinary interview or a well-directed show. On street television everything takes place in real time, the moderator provides impromptu answers to all questions and makes comments on participants' statements. As a rule, such meetings continue for three to four hours; they begin at dusk in order to make the footage visible on the screen. ... Sundry topics are discussed: Why is there no gasoline? What will [Ukrainian] peacekeepers do in Kosovo? Does Ukraine need health care reform? Will Kuchma be re-elected?"
Fakty described the phenomenon of street television as a "people's Internet," noting that movable rostrums with cameras and screens have been seen on the streets of Kyiv, Lviv and Dnipropetrovsk, as well as in Crimea. Persons involved in the street television initiative told Fakty they are going to become a "full-fledged business structure on the political and information market."
Currently, they are taking advantage of the presidential election campaign for the purpose of self-publicity, as well as to promote "direct democracy." They have not disclosed the source of their funding. Fakty suggested that street television has a "pro-presidential orientation," but did not elaborate on the issue.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, August 22, 1999, No. 34, Vol. LXVII
| Home Page |