Natalya Dmytruk

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Natalya Dmytruk, Ukraine

"The Wall Street Journal observed that Ukraine's Orange Revolution gained unexpected momentum from "small acts of courage by people previously uninvolved in politics." Natalya Dmytruk, the sign language interpreter for Ukrainian State Television (UT-1), was one of those people. Angered by her network's refusal to broadcast the truth in the days following Ukraine's fraudulent November 21, 2004 run-off presidential election, a courageous Ms. Dmytruk acted on her anger: after "signing" the news on November 25, she unexpectedly pulled an orange ribbon (the color of the opposition) from her sleeve and informed her viewers that, "Everything you have heard so far is a lie. Yushchenko is our true president. Goodbye, for you will probably never see me here again." Her action galvanized journalists throughout Ukraine, especially those at the major pro-government TV networks. Inspired by her example, hundreds of her colleagues at UT-1 confronted the network's owners, chanting, "No more lies!" Ms. Dmytruk has humbly and succinctly described the motivation behind her action: "Without telling anyone, I just went in and did what my conscience told me to do."" [1]

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  1. Background on Participants "champions of Freedom", White House, accessed August 24, 2007.