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Donbas Media Forum Explores Ethics and Professional Growth for Media

November 5-6 – The Donetsk Institute of Information (DII) organized the seventh Donbas Media Forum-2021: Adapting to Challenges and Finding Effective Solutions, with financial support from the US embassy, USAID, the EU Delegation, the Czech government, and the OSCE. Launched in 2015, the Donbas Media Forum has become a key annual event for journalists from different regions of Ukraine with a special focus on the East.

The major topics for the two-day discussions were:

  • Education: how to form new professional basic knowledge and skills to counter propaganda and adhere to journalistic standards;
  • Regulation: the role of the state and the media community;
  • New Ethics: how to cover conflict and sensitive topics for society;
  • Models of monetization for media.

Around 60 speakers participated and discussions were broadcast live from the Hromadske.ua studio on Hromadske.ua and DII platforms, attracting 31,000 views.

Major takeaways:

  • During a discussion on disinformation, Roman Kulchynskyi, editor-in-chief of Texty.org, said disinformation actors choose an emotional trigger, study the issue, develop messages and throw them at the audience. The audience catches the messages, disinformation subsides, and the audience spreads the disinformation on its own. Kulchytskyi described this as the main principle of disinformation, and social media are helping it to work.
  • At a panel about polarization in society and media, Oksana Romaniuk, executive director of IMI and member of the Commission on Journalism Ethics and the UA:PBC supervisory board, talked about causes of polarization: populist politicians; oligarch-owned media; social media platforms rewarding negative emotions; poor media quality; and the aggravation of existing societal problems.
  • During the discussion on financial models for regional media, Olena Shchepak, founder of 18,000: Cherkasy News, said that advertising from a pool of IT companies currently generates approximately 60% of her outlet’s budget. At the same time, the outlet has invested in a new commercial department that looks for advertisers, is creating a readers club, and also applying for donor grant funds.

More on the YouTube channel of Donbas Media Forum.

Photo: Donetsk Institute of Information