BRAMA, Nov 18, 2004, 4:00 pm ET
Ukrainian-American Technology Group Mobilizes Supporters for a Free and Fair Presidential Election
Kyiv, Ukraine (November 18, 2004) With onset of the second round in Ukraine's 2004 presidential election, Maidan (www.maidanua.org) - the leading on-line provider of political news in Ukraine - has become critical catalyst drawing thousands of its readers directly into Ukraine’s election process. These readers have become civic activists having signed up online to serve as election workers, independent observers and field reporters.
“People usually learn about us from the Internet, but later they quickly get involved with like-minded people throughout the country,” says one of Maidan’s co-founders Mr. Mykhaylo Svystovych.
The website was established four years ago in Ukraine - a country where only ten percent of its citizens has Internet access. Immediately, the site became widely popular with its monthly audience growing to 250,000. Maidan provides continuous and timely political reports and analysis along with topical forums and regional civic organizational initiatives for the site's readers’ participation.
During 2004, Maidan’s network of volunteers increased in number from 20 to 2,000, and continues to grow. Dozens of volunteers living in Ukraine, the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Australia, and Russia, gather field reports, translate real-time news, conduct interviews and analyze data.
Maidan is one among the very few free media enterprises in Ukraine that has survived the government’s ongoing repressions of independent press, TV and radio stations, which intensified following the murder of prominent investigative journalist and Internet publisher Georgiy Gongadze in 2000.
Following Georgiy Gongadze's death hundreds of thousands of previously indifferent Ukrainians started seeking ways to actively engage in the political process. They looked for contact with political and civic interest groups eager to bring the country closer to democracy.
“Maidan provides a virtual meeting place for individuals where they could find expression for their social and political energy. When they are ready for more substantial involvement in politics, we refer them to various local NGOs, PACs, and political parties depending on their interest,” says Mr. Volodymyr Martyniuk, a co-founder of Maidan.
“We have substantial support in many communities, as people often trust us more than brick-and-mortar NGOs, PACs, and political parties. Our NGO serves the public with individual attention over the long-term, assisting them to help their local communities by using world class technology to support the processes we have,” Mr. Stefan Seitz, Maidan’s project manager claims. “Online civic activism is booming in Ukraine.”
For more information, please visit us at maidanua.org and eng.maidanua.org, or email us at forum (AT) maidanua.org .