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Institute of Mass Information’s Observations of Donbas Blockade Media Coverage

March 17 Blockading the Donbas region is one of the dominant topics in Ukrainian news. Oksana Romaniuk, Executive Director of the Institute of Mass Information (IMI), shared her institute’s observations on how the blockade has been covered by the news media with Deutsche Welle (DW).

She discussed coverage of activists who initiated the blockade and how media treatment changed after the Council for National Security and Defense officially supported the transportation blockade in Donbas.

DW’s questions and Romanuik’s answer summaries follow.

DW: What media did you study and what trends did you notice?

Romaniuk said IMI monitored 10 national internet media outlets and six popular print media organizations last month. She said IMI researchers determined the media mostly promoted the evolving – yet consensus – Ukrainian Government position that argues the blockade has had a detrimental effect on Ukraine’s economy. The other position – taken by, among others, those activists who actually blocked the Donbas railway – was covered to a lesser degree by the media.

DW: Did media coverage of the Donbas blockade change after it was supported by the government?

Romaniuk reports that after the government supported the blockade, almost all authorities began speaking in favor of the economic action. She said a lack of independent thinking was evident.

The IMI is planning to publish a report contrasting the negative views about the blockade from experts and observers who then changed their minds to support it after the government’s decision to favor it.

More on Deutsche Welle in Ukrainian.