Internews and Partners Present Third National Media Talk
October 25 – Internews organized the media industry’s major annual dialogue, the National Media Talk, with the Independent Association of Broadcasters and a group of core Ukrainian partners, at the Hilton hotel in Kyiv.
The third National Media Talk focused on how to increase peer pressure and solidarity for improvement in the media sector. The overall goal of discussions was to cultivate responsible journalism, quality content, and improve professional relations between media and government.
Nearly 300 journalists, media managers, public officials, bloggers and civil society representatives from all over Ukraine participated.
Susan Fritz, USAID Mission Director to Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, and Gillian McCormack, Director of Internews in Ukraine, opened the conference. In her opening remarks, Susan Fritz spoke about the challenges for Ukraine’s media posed by Russian aggression and Ukraine’s legacy of corruption, and how a healthy media environment is essential for European integration.
The keynote speaker Roman Sushchenko, Ukrinform journalist and Kremlin political prisoner who was released in early September 2019 during the exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and Russia, spoke about the care that officials need to take in releasing information to ensure that it is accurate and to avoid being part of generating what he called “the fiasco of content.”
He spoke powerfully and emotionally about the devastating impact on his mother of numerous false news reports about the timing of his release from prison. By delivering tough remarks in a considered and thoughtful manner, he set the tone for a constructive discussion between journalists and representatives of the presidential administration and Ukraine’s parliament.