Media Program in Ukraine

2018-2023

About Program

The new USAID-funded Media Program in Ukraine works to empower local media to expand Ukrainian citizens’ access to high-quality news and information. This project, implemented by Internews from 2018-2023, is the largest media development activity in Ukraine’s history, and represents a significant US$35m investment in Ukraine’s independent media sector.

The last four years have seen a raft of important media reforms in the realms of access to information, transparency of media ownership and public service broadcasting. The Media Program supports Ukrainian organizations in their efforts to successfully implement these reforms, increase the availability of high quality media content, improve media self-regulation and ultimately help media provide citizens with the information they need to be resilient against malign influence, strengthening efforts towards European integration.

We believe Ukraine has achieved a great deal in implementing important media reforms. At Internews, we are delighted to be able to continue working together with our partners to strengthen the accountability and capacity of the Ukrainian media sector to provide Ukrainians with the relevant and engaging information they need. With USAID’s assistance, we will expand media literacy, help institutions implement key media reforms and build media industry standards and sustainability.
Gillian McCormack Internews Country Director and the Program’s Chief of Party

Activities include:

  • Support for public broadcasting company UA:Pershiy and local affiliates
  • Increasing and improving content production on reforms
  • Improving elections coverage
  • Strengthening professional development and cross-regional linkages
  • Supporting investigative journalism
  • Providing legal assistance to journalists on access to information
  • Streamlining media literacy efforts
  • Expanding media monitoring efforts
  • Strengthening and expanding media partnerships and coalitions

The new Media Program targets its efforts on:

  • journalists
  • media managers
  • media outlets
  • media support organizations
  • educators
  • citizens
  • officials working on reforms

Territorial outreach:

The Media Program in Ukraine is a nationwide initiative that has a particular focus on media assistance in the East (Donetsk, Luhansk) and South (Kherson, Mykolayiv, and Odesa).

It also explores new partnerships and coalitions with:

  • IT professionals
  • social entrepreneurs
  • private sector representatives
  • creative communities

Grants for Ukrainian organizations:

The Media Program provides extensive grant support to Ukrainian organizations to enable them to carry out the following activities:
  • Engaging content production for TV, radio, online, or print media, with targeted support for content creators focusing on the East and South.
  • Election-related activities including the production of balanced content that fosters public debate on policy issues, voter education, legal assistance for journalists covering elections, and training in how to cover elections in ways that build public confidence in the process.
  • Media monitoring to assess the quality and impartiality of media coverage as well as covert attempts to manipulate public opinion.
  • Production of hard-hitting investigative stories and data journalism projects
  • Advocacy to expand media literacy more broadly into the national school curriculum, including at primary school level, and teacher training, especially in the East and South, to increase schools’ use of media literacy modules.
  • Support for local groups to roll out media literacy events at all education levels, particularly in the East and South.
  • Support for local initiatives that create feedback mechanisms for audiences to report false stories, media manipulation, or other professional violations to media outlets or media watchdogs.
In addition to planned grant support, the Media Project has also established a flexible rapid reaction pool to allow the project to respond to unique opportunities and unexpected events.

Program results so far

77
Number of independent news outlets directly assisted
Over 26 mln
Election media content audience reached
17
Number of media organizations we partner with

Program results highlights

MPU partners’ media literacy efforts resulted in expanding the integration of media literacy into mandatory disciplines at secondary schools.

The Academy of Ukrainian Press introduced six new media literacy modules at 129 schools throughout Ukraine; the modules were downloaded 13,403 times from the AUP media literacy portal. For the very first time, a workbook for the school textbook “I Explore the World” was approved and financed by the Ministry of Education and Science as a mandatory supplement and will be used at schools in the 2019-2020 academic year.

Odesa-based partner Institute of Political Information (IPI) designed the iVote online quiz,

which people could use to see which of the candidates most closely aligned with their own views. The quiz used an algorithm that was based on correlating users’ interests and positions with the information provided by presidential candidates to the Central Election Commission (CEC). As a result, the quiz tended to throw up inconsistencies in the ways the candidates formally represented themselves in their official manifestos, and how they presented themselves differently depending on the region in which they were campaigning. The quiz created a national stir because it pointed out the fact that some of the presidential candidates had failed to mention important issues in their campaign platforms, such as where they really stand on membership of the EU and NATO. Nearly 105,000 unique users took the iVote quiz.

IAB’s social media influencers campaign

encouraged young people to get out and vote, with five Instagram influencers reaching 1.5 million people in two weeks. Singer and TV presenter Volodymyr Dantes got the highest number of individual views (over 120,000) with a video from his car as he was driving to Kharkiv, where he is registered as a voter. In the video, he described how this would be the first time he would be voting in an election, and called on young people to get off the sofa and exercise their right to vote.

Media for Conscious Choice

A group of long-term USAID U-Media and MPU partners started a movement called Media for Conscious Choice on their own initiative, gathering 65 national and regional media outlets, non-governmental organizations, and journalists in Ukraine under a banner of honest journalism, rejecting requests for hidden political advertising, and refusing to publish black PR (the practice of paying for broadcasting and publishing negative stories about competitors). While media solidarity under the previous regime of ex-President Viktor Yanukovych was galvanized under the banner of the Stop Censorship movement, in recent years Ukrainian media organizations have decried the lack of initiatives to come together and mutually respect professional media standards and ethics. In a major positive step forward for media self-regulation and standards, this new movement was created in February 2019, just in time for the presidential elections. Media for Conscious Choice has recently received 15 more requests from media outlets wanting to join the movement.

UA:PBC’s new political talk show “Countdown”

showcased the presidential candidates and tripled the public broadcaster’s audience for its time slot, reaching 8.5 million viewers in the two weeks running up to the first round vote. It was praised by Ukrainian media watchdogs and media commentators as being by far the most professional and impartial political talk show of all of the national TV channels, filling a big gap in what was otherwise a very polarized campaign. While other political talk shows were selective in the candidates they invited (often depending on the political preferences of the owner) with anchors asking soft-ball questions and giving unlimited time to reply, the Countdown stood out because it identified the top 18 candidates according to reliable polls and invited all of them to attend; the anchors, experts in the studio and audience members asked tough questions; and the candidates were held to strict time-limits in their responses, monitored by a big studio chronometer.

MPU’s media partners

(UA:PBC, Hromadske Radio, Internews Ukraine, Detector Media, Suspilnist Foundation, Information Press Center, Mirror Weekly, Institute of Political Information, Kharkiv Press Club, Ternopil Press Club, Donetsk Institute of Information) produced high-quality engaging TV, radio and online content about the elections, the reform process, and other important issues that reached over 10 million Ukrainians during this period.

Odesa-based partner Institute of Political Information (IPI) designed the iVote online quiz,

which people could use to see which of the candidates most closely aligned with their own views. The quiz used an algorithm that was based on correlating users’ interests and positions with the information provided by presidential candidates to the Central Election Commission (CEC). As a result, the quiz tended to throw up inconsistencies in the ways the candidates formally represented themselves in their official manifestos, and how they presented themselves differently depending on the region in which they were campaigning. The quiz created a national stir because it pointed out the fact that some of the presidential candidates had failed to mention important issues in their campaign platforms, such as where they really stand on membership of the EU and NATO. This prompted complaints from some candidates (e.g. Anatoliy Hrytsenko’s team in Odesa complained to IPI that the candidate did support Ukraine joining NATO and EU, although he did not mention this in his official manifesto to the CEC). Nearly 105,000 unique users took the iVote quiz.

Map of supported media

Weekly briefer

USAID-Internews “Media Program in Ukraine” compiles a weekly information bulletin in English looking at the country’s media sector news and our partners’ activities. Please, see this week’s compilation, send your email address in and hit subscribe to get our briefer in your inbox.

Past issues

FAQ

  • How can my organization or media outlet cooperate with the Media Program in Ukraine?

    We regularly invite Ukrainian media organizations, media outlets and other players in the media field to submit project proposals to our grants competitions. Please, subscribe to our news and updates.

  • What expenses do we need to show in budget proposal?

    The budget should describe major expense categories that show clear cost-effectiveness. Using our Excel budget template, you should indicate all relative expenses that you believe will help you achieve your project’s goals

  • Do we need to submit proposals in two languages?

    All proposals should be submitted in both, English and Ukrainian. Please, follow our grant proposal writing instructions.

  • Do we need to scan, print and send our project proposals by post?

    No, you don’t need to do this as all our proposals and budgets should be received as Word and Excel documents via email.

  • Can I be added to your mail-list?

    Please, drop us a line to UA-MPU@internews.org to stay informed on our program’s news and cooperation opportunities.