Voloshyn said that the Foreign Ministry together with public organizations intends to organize the Euro-2012 roundtable in July that will be held in Brussels. They will invite the representatives of the program "Panorama" on BBC and listen to their position one more time.
"This is very strange, that so far no one haven’t listened to the views of thousands of English fans and haven’t confessed that they exaggerated the problem of racism in our country," the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
"We expect that with concrete actions, new reports, interviews and stories about Ukraine the BBC will somehow save its image before the audience," he added.
As a reminder, the BBC Panorama showed a video clip "Stadiums of Hate", which reveals evidence of racist violence and anti-Semitism at the heart of Polish and Ukrainian football. Reporter Chris Rogers witnesses a group of Asian fans being attacked on the terraces of a Ukrainian premier league match and hears anti-Semitic chanting at games in Poland.
Panorama claims it spent a month filming at matches in both the joint host nations and witnessed Nazi salutes from the terraces, black players being taunted with monkey chants, rampant anti-Semitism and a vicious assault on a group of Asian students.
Euro 2012 should not have been awarded to Poland and Ukraine because of entrenched racism and violence, Sol Campbell told the BBC's Panorama after watching the footage. Mr. Campbell had this advice for fans thinking of travelling to Euro 2012: "Stay at home, watch it on TV. Don't even risk it… because you could end up coming back in a coffin."
Will the company with the world known name admit its mistake? Will Ukraine ever receive apologies from British journalists? Those are questions ForUm have asked political scientists and diplomats to clear the things up.
Hryhoriy Perepelitsa, director of foreign policy Institute of Diplomatic academy in Interior Ministry of Ukraine:
- Having released this footage the BBC leveled down its positive image, it had been working on for tens of years. Indeed, it used to be the most reputable and unbiased broadcasting corporation.
"Stadiums of Hate" was obviously a biased selection of material, aimed to discredit Ukraine on the eve of Euro-2012. And if BBC management cares about its image it should offer public apologies, publishing them on the website in the least.
- Volodymyr Ohryzko, former foreign minister of Ukraine:
- It's a shame that such respectable corporation as BBC has broadcast false material. We can spend hours thinking and wondering what it was all about, but frankly speaking, such reports make BBC no good.
The very fact that British football fans and a number of British media declared their disagreement with the BBC report is a blow to BBC's image. In fact, with this report BBC did nothing but to harm itself. Hence, it is no longer so important that BBC offers its apologies, as the company has already got its punishment.
Oleksandr Sushko, a member of public council of the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine, director of the Institute on Euro-Atlantic cooperation:
- The very fact of successful staging of the championship nullifies all negative reports about Ukraine. I think the racism question should be left behind. I am not so thrilled about the idea to demand satisfaction. The BBC footage pictures both Ukraine and Poland, but Poland does not insist and I think this is a wiser approach. The matter does not concern only apologies and official declarations. The very success of Euro-2012 and absence of any incidents have proved the reporters wrong.
Kost Bondarenko, chairman of the management board of the Institute of Ukrainian politics:
- We must spare no effort and no leverage to make BBC apologize for its reports. Moreover, the BBC management must punish those journalists who broadcast this obviously biased material. It depends on how hard we push. There is nothing impossible.
Vitaliy Kulik, director of the Research Center on civil society:
- Don't forget that the film pictures 'racism problems' both in Ukraine and Poland. So, I would not state that only interests of the official Brussels are involved. The film involves interests of other rival countries, which were fighting for the right to host Euro-2012. Besides, don't forget ordinary sensationalism in order to attract bigger audience on the eve of the big event.
Even knowing that in political games all means are acceptable, let's not demonize the European Union and let's not fall for the conspiracy. Moreover, Ukraine should be more careful in relations with the EU if it wants to continue the process of mutual integration.
Evhen Leshan, political scientist:
- It does not take much brain to figure out that the BBC report is a part of the big campaign, launched by the West against the background of political relations with Ukraine. Besides, don't bet on impartiality of European mass media, as powerful forces there also can lobby their interests through the press or simply order a report of interest through standard procedure. And there is nothing new or extraordinary in such actions. So don't expect apologies from one of the world biggest media holdings any time soon.
There are single cases of racism manifestation in Ukraine, and it is not a secret. However, the timing and focus of the BBC footage does not leave any doubts it was a discrediting campaign, planned in respect of the current relations between official Kyiv and Brussels. As for the real situation in the streets, we can ask any black or Asian guest, who came to visit Ukraine and Euro. They will tell you the country met them friendly.
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