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News can be purchased. Much of editorial content in the Ukrainian media is bought by advertisers, but disguised as news. More often than not such information is of little value but it is presented as something worth noticing. Practically every day you may hear a “doctor’s advice” on the radio. Seemingly , the radio takes care of the listeners’ health. But after ten minutes of listening to how well and effectively a disease is treated at a certain clinic you start understanding that it is the clinic that placed the order for this information. I can accept this kind of “reporting” in glossy magazines which you read on a flight (you can hardly expect much more from glossy magazines), but I do not imagine the New York Times or the Guardian giving details of a restaurant service on their front pages. The question arises: why can’t the Ukrainian media go honest and start selling its space for adverts and commercials? Maybe they would do it, but the reader will hardly “believe” that advertisement. The cases when goods and services of low quality are promoted through advertising are numerous. That is why both the media and the companies do this back-scratching.

In Ukraine one may often hear debates about whether or not the country should join Europe (the EU, NATO, etc.) I think the major reason why Ukraine must be after it is that in Europe we may start learning not to cheat about advertising, not to advertise smoking and drinking; we’ll formulate “European” laws and start abiding with those laws; we’ll be learning politeness to customers, and, maybe, we’ll begin smiling more often at one another.  But… will Europe want a learner who is a cheater, a smoker, a drinker, a churl, a lawbreaker? Which reminds me of a typical case from our childhood: the parents of a problem child want their offspring to keep company with a “good boy”, while the parents of a good boy tell their kid to stay away from the “bad boy.”

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