Independent, ethical and local journalism in Ukraine needs greater international support, says the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) in a special report on the country’s media landscape.
The report, ‘Ukraine media: defiance and truth-telling – the frontline struggle for information and democracy,‘ includes a series of essays on the challenges facing media in the current conflict – and makes a comprehensive set of recommendations to strengthen journalism in Ukraine.
Although not a comprehensive study of the media in Ukraine, the report provides insights into challenges that the media face, as news organisations strive for high standards of reporting at a time of war and when journalists are under pressure from political and commercial pressures.
United action: a vision for the future
The report’s key recommendations include:
a radical overhaul of journalism education across the country to modernise teaching of reporting and editing skills, particularly related to use of information technology, embedding principles of ethical reporting and strengthening the capacity for investigative journalism
more support for local media, including funds to sustain local news outlets threatened with closure and fresh initiatives to counter propaganda, disinformation and the turmoil caused by war and the transformation of the media landscape
swift action to find and bring to justice those responsible for the targeting and killing of journalists, so that they can be brought to trial and held to account
restrictions on journalists’ access to conflict zones to be lifted
new dialogues between the government and media-support groups to strengthen the independence of journalism and create an enabling environment for safe regulation of media, and
more unified action within the media to strengthen rules on transparency, ownership and journalistic independence.
The EJN report underscores the importance of international donor support for media, and the networks of international media support that are raising funds and urgently needed help for Ukraine media.
It also reinforces the importance of Ukraine’s home-grown efforts to build a professional journalistic landscape through the country’s ethics commission which, despite the war, continues to work to build support for independent journalism.
It gives voice to the concerns and views of media leaders and journalists in Ukraine and outlines their strategies for a new beginning for news media and journalism once the war is over and peace is restored.
In spite of the conflict, work to promote quality journalism continues with practical programmes that seek to minimise the risks that journalists face and create an enabling environment for the future of information and democracy in Ukraine based upon international standards of ethical and accountable journalism.
This report explores the environment in which journalism is practised to identify the needs of the media community and to better define the challenges of contemporary journalism.
“As the EJN report concludes, Ukraine’s leaders have nothing to fear from the investigative instincts of good journalists. Ethical and professional reporters and a genuinely independent media system are critical friends. They can contribute to an anti-corruption ecosystem that will promote good governance throughout Ukraine’s war—and strengthen democracy in the reconstruction to follow,” notes report editor and EJN President, Aidan White.
It is produced in partnership with the Evens Foundation and the Fritt Ord Foundation. The section on journalism education was supported by the DESTIN Journalism Education for Democracy in Ukraine: Developing Standards, Integrity and Professionalism, an Erasmus+ KA2 project.
“Independent media are essential, not just to counter ‘the constant drumbeat of propaganda and the presence of disinformation which pose deadly threats to media freedom,’ but as a cornerstone of the country’s democratic future.” – Ukraine media: defiance and truth-telling
Download the report here.
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