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).

 

 

 

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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

79
Number of independent news outlets directly assisted
Over 74,5 mln
People reached by TV content
19
Number of media organizations we partner with

Program results highlights

Ukraine’s national public service broadcaster UA:PBC increased its audience by 30% and reached 40 million viewers in the last twelve months.

·       Ukraine’s national public service broadcaster UA:PBC maintained the high quality of its weekly political talk show Countdown, increasing its audience by 50% in the last twelve months and reaching 40 million views. It was also praised by Ukrainian watchdogs as the most balanced and unbiased political talk-show on the air. Countdown became a launch pad for young newly elected MPs and public officials, who were able to discuss crucial political, economic and social issues with independent anchors and experts showing the viewers a realistic picture (positive and negative steps) of reforms in Ukraine.

LIGA.net coverage on decentralization reached 6 million online views and improved communication and awareness about amalgamated communities in Ukraine.

Content produced by LIGA.net with a focus on decentralization in Ukraine reached six million online views during July 2019 – March 2020. Head of the Veselivska amalgamated community, Petro Kyiashko, reported that thanks to LIGA.net’s extensive media coverage of their activities, they created a new communication model between communities in the region, reaching beyond communities in the West to those in the East and South of Ukraine. Authorities in the Vosnesenka community organized a tour for journalists of their region following LIGA.net coverage to improve awareness of the tourism and recreational opportunities available in their region.

Anti-Covid Webinar Series reaches 70,000 users.

Internews Ukraine created an educational program for local media outlets on the transformation of journalistic activities under challenging conditions created by Covid-19 and the quarantine. The program consisted of eight video courses on adjusting newsrooms, tips on remote work for media, and fundraising. The live webinars engaged 289 participants via Zoom and 7,000 views on Facebook. Internews Ukraine made six public video lessons, two video courses for registered participants, and 24 short videos for social media that reached 70,000 users.

“Content Fund” and “Formats Lab” by National Association of Media helped 78 regional broadcasters maintain regular broadcasting during the Covid-19 pandemic and improved the skills of 35 regional media professionals from 12 Ukrainian cities.

Over 78 regional broadcasters now have free access to 2,050 pieces of high-quality content thanks to free access to NAM’s Content Fund – the largest online content-sharing platform in Ukraine. The platform offers high quality content developed by NAM´s ¨Formats Lab,¨ other partner platforms, and Ukrainian media.

Internews partner TEXTY.ORG.ua won a global competition on data journalism.

In early 2020, TEXTY.ORG.ua won the 2019 Sigma Award with its Fakecrunch application (supported by USAID’s Media Program in Ukraine). The award was in the category “Best News Application.” Other shortlisted media competing in the same category included Pudding and the Washington Post. TEXTY’s Fakecrunch (an app for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers) automatically signals users about manipulative content with a banner and can be used to collect alerts from the public about disinformation online. 

Detector Media’s satirical talk-show News Palm entered the list of top 20 most popular Ukrainian language YouTube blogs on political topics

·       Detector Media’s News Palm, focused on debunking disinformation and exposure of unprofessional media practices, entered the list of top 20 most popular Ukrainian language YouTube blogs on political topics (according to Wikipedia) in late March. After the Covid-19 pandemic started, Detector Media made the show available for free use on the National Association of Media’s Content Fund (a repository of free content for regional media). Six regional TV channels began to broadcast Newspalm, including Poltavske.tv, VitaTV (Vinnytsia), TRC Nezalezhnist (Kalush, IvanoFrankivsk oblast), Uzhinform (Uzhhorod), KamyanetsPodilsky TRC (KamyanetsPodilsky), TRKRhythm (Rivne). During Year 2 of the project, Detector Media produced 41 episodes of News Palm, which collected over 1,700,000 views online.

The Academy of Ukrainian Press (AUP) has become the largest communication platform for media literacy teachers.

By the end of FY2020, 12 textbooks on media education, developed by AUP for 5-11 grades with support of the Media Program in Ukraine for the life of the project, were included in the list of educational products,  recommended for use in secondary schools by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine in 2020-2021 academic year. AUP’s online portal “Media Education and Media Literacy” is one of the biggest online sources of methodological and education materials in Ukraine. It was visited by 581,198 users in FY2020 (October 2019 – September 2020). 30,400 among these users were regular visitors of the portal. 

Video reports by Center for Journalist Investigations about leaders of illegal armed group in Crimea resulted in actions taken by law enforcement agencies of Ukraine.

A cycle of ten video reports titled Putin’s Soldiers, produced by the Center for Journalist Investigations of the Information Press Center (formerly based in Crimea, now located in Kyiv), resulted in actions taken by the Security Service of Ukraine, the National Police, and Crimea Prosecutor’s Office, which announced that it would place 20 people on a wanted list who took part in Crimea’s occupation by Russia in 2014, including the leaders of illegal armed group “Sevastopol Self-Defense” Mykhailo Chaly and Oleg Roslyakov. The Center investigated war crimes in Crimea, activities of illegal armed groups and their role in Russia’s occupation of Crimea in 2014. 

CEDEM led Ukraine to demonstrate best practices of public access to information by ratifying the Tromso Convention.

The Center for Democracy and Rule of Law has brought oversight of access to public information to a conventional (interstate jurisdiction) level by advocating for a draft Law on the Ratification of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Access to Official Documents for   parliamentary approval. On March 5, 2020, the Committee on Integration of Ukraine with the European Union recommended that the Ukrainian Parliament adopt a bill on the Ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents (Bill No.0032), which would enforce the European Union Convention known as the Tromso Convention. On August 19, 2020, Ukraine finished the process of the Ratification of the Convention. Thanks to Ukraine’s ratification, the Convention will come into force for all signatory countries on December 1, 2020. Upon ratification, the provisions of the provisions of the Convention will dominate over the national laws of each member state should they fail to provide an adequate access to public information and documents.

As a result of Ternopil Press Club’s series of trainings, 112 editors and employees of 96 destatized newspapers from 12 regions of Ukraine increased their professional skills.

Regional media specialists (82 women and 30 men) improved their knowledge and skills in the following areas: management of effective advertising departments, sales maximization, and the legal specifics of online journalism through series of trainings organized by Ternopil Press Club. The survey held after the trainings, showed that 85% of newspapers began experimenting with native advertising, 90% improved communication with advertisers, 66% implemented active sales programs, and 33% hired advertising managers. The reformed newsrooms demonstrated more interest in creating online versions of their newspapers as platforms for new opportunities in advertising activity, attracting new audiences, and promoting multimedia content among potential subscribers.

Institute of Mass Information (IMI) experts stated in their online media monitoring report for August 2020 that 40% of the national online media they monitored displayed transparency regarding their owners, management teams, and contact information for editorial teams.

This marked a 12% increase in transparency compared to the same period in 2019. The media outlets that published all relevant information in the three categories were considered transparent. This group included Liga.net, Weekly Mirror, NV.ua, Komsomolskaya Pravda in Ukraine, Strana.ua, Segondya.ua, Ukrinform, Obozrevatel, and Unian.

Internews partner Center for Democracy and Rule of Law (CEDEM) established a partnership with Facebook, government bodies, and public organizations (including from the IT sector) to protect freedom of speech online and ensure public oversight over efforts to introduce internet regulation in Ukraine.

The key achievement for the last six months was the development and presentation of Recommendations to prevent hate speech in the Ukrainian Facebook segment and establishment of free speech principles on the internet.” These expert recommendations on sensitive issues (hate speech, copyright, etc.) came in response to Facebook limiting and blocking activities of some of its users, allegedly for bad behavior. The recommendations were delivered to Facebook’s communication manager for Ukraine and discussed with traditional and non-traditional media players and experts at an array of offline events in Kyiv. These included meetings of the Parliamentary Committee on Humanitarian Policy working group for developing the law On Media, a public discussion on blocking in social networks (November 7), a forum entitled “Key challenges of freedom of speech on Internet: Ukrainian and world-wide context” (December 13), and a press conference (January 30) where a new online game “Survive on the internet – mission is (not)possible and recommendations were presented. In total, 110 experts were involved (65% of whom were women).

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.