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National Media Talk: The Role of Independent Media in Ukraine

November 2-3 – Highlighted by a principled keynote speech devoted to precise, truthful journalism in the post-truth era, Internews and the Independent Association of Broadcasters organized its first all-Ukrainian National Media Talk titled “The Role of Independent Media in Ukraine.” The event was a platform for seeking common solutions to today’s most urgent and controversial media issues.

Over 200 national and regional journalists and international organization representatives attended the two-day conference in Kyiv.

In opening remarks, director of the USAID mission in Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova, Susan Fritz, and director of Internews in Ukraine, Wayne Sharpe, encouraged participants to engage in constructive dialogue at the event.

Myroslav Marynovych, Lviv Catholic University’s vice rector and a well-known defender of human rights, called for the return of the “word” in his keynote speech titled “The Word Has Died, Long Live the Word!” Marynovych emphasized that journalists have contributed to creation of the post-truth environment and must revive their ethics to overcome the crisis of truth. He pointed out that balancing deliberately untruthful opinions is the same as balancing evil and questioned whether there should be an equilibrium between truth and evil.

On day one, the panel titled “To What Extent the Information Provided by Media to Ukrainians is of High Quality,” was moderated by an acknowledged opinion leader, Andriy Kulikov, of Public Radio. Panelists Oksana Sokolova of ICTV, Kyrylo Lukerenko of Public Radio, and Victor Shlinchak of Glavkom said a whole generation of Ukrainian journalists do not know how to work with a new source of information. A panel that included Public Service Broadcasting officials discussed the PSB’s challenges and accomplishments since its registration in January of this year.

Conference participants discussed the dominance of jeansa (paid news coverage), reposts, and crime coverage, and the lack of news coverage about ordinary citizens in the regional media with Internews’ monitoring teams Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy (POID) and Detector Media (DM). That session was moderated by POID director Svitlana Yeremenko. The role of journalists in a time of hybrid war was discussed at the session moderated by Andriy Kulakov of Internews Ukraine.

On the second day, a session moderated by Detector Media’s Natalia Ligachova addressed ethical challenges for journalists in times of conflict. Panelists included Anastasia Stanko (, Olha Musafirova (Novaya Gazeta), and Roman Vintoniv (National PSB Company of Ukraine) and concluded that journalists have to be more responsible and professional. Ligachova said journalists understand their important self-regulatory role in putting pressure on government for the reasonable regulation of media content. Internews presented guidelines for defending media freedom in the form of a document developed for Ukraine by a group of international and Ukrainian analysts that balances freedom of speech and necessary security measures within their limits.

Videos introduced each discussion panel and represented conference participants’ and citizens’ opinions on the panel topics. Interactive “instant audience voting” results on various topics were displayed on panel screens to keep the audience involved and ensure dynamic and constructive dialogue.

More on the National Media Talk Facebook page in Ukrainian.