WASHINGTON, D.C. —“It is hard to find the words that would fully reflect the contribution made by Mrs. Gongadze in conducting the debates.” So said the Director General of Ukraine’s First National TV, Zurab Alasaniia. He and VOA’s Myroslava Gongadze co-moderated a series of nationally televised debates that took place before Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Ukraine.
As the host of Chas Time, a news and current affairs TV program that is shown daily on VOA Ukrainian, Gongadze is already well known in Ukraine; Chas Time is broadcast in evening prime time and has an audience of five million people, just about one in five adults in Ukraine. She is frequently ranked among the country’s most influential women.
But the VOA journalist readily acknowledges that co-moderating the debates was something special. “Actively participating,” she says, “in a historic democratic process of choosing a new post-revolution Ukrainian Parliament was a huge responsibility and a very satisfying experience.”
First National TV, a VOA affiliate and one of the major TV networks in Ukraine, broadcast a total of seven debates, starting October 13 and ending October 23, three days before the parliamentary election. The debates enabled Ukrainian voters to hear the views of candidates from almost all the political parties that participated in the parliamentary elections.
Election results show that President Petro Poroshenko's political bloc, along with other pro-Europe forces, won a convincing victory.
Gongadze also was a big winner. In a letter to VOA, Alasaniia, the Director General of First TV, lauded her “profound knowledge in the matters of political, economic and social life of Ukraine” and her “exceptional professionalism as a journalist.” Gongadze received thousands of messages from viewers echoing this praise, saying among other things that she energized the debates and showed how journalists are supposed to work.
“It’s an honor for VOA,” said VOA Director David Ensor, “that Myroslava was invited to co-host the recent debates in Ukraine, I am even more pleased that we at VOA have her as host of Chas Time. We have long known what a true professional she is.”
VOA’s audience in Ukraine was recently measured at over 18 percent weekly, or 7 million people. In addition to Chas Time, the Ukrainian Service of the Voice of America provides special reports to several television stations in Ukraine, including ICTV, First National TV and 1+1 TV.