Editors of Ukraine’s Leading Media Organisations Discussed the Ways of Crisis Coverage

The Forum titled Media Coverage of Crisis in Ukraine finalized the training programme for Ukrainian journalists that has been realized in Ukraine by International Institute for Regional Media and Information (IRMI, Ukraine) together with Thomson Foundation (the UK) and Journalists’ Initiative Association (JIA, Ukraine). The project has been financed by the UK Conflict, Stability and Security Fund. 

The roundtable gathered editors of regional news organizations, international experts, volunteer NGO leaders that work with IDPs, the representatives of international organizations, such as Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, the UN, USAID and others. The discussion focused around professional and ethical standards of journalists when they cover the situations of crisis. Frankly speaking, Ukrainian journalists do not often concentrate on standards when it goes about quality journalism. Crisis, however, with information being its lethal weapon, forced the issues of professional accountability come to the fore.

How not to harm the people that have lost everything and are compelled to start anew? How to insure access to information and foster integration processes of IDPs into new communities helping the host-communities overcome communication and social tensions? How do we deal with a conflict of interests? Do journalists have the right to be emotional? May the critical view of what the authorities do in the face of the war be considered unpatriotic? How should journalists avoid being a tool for the manipulation of public opinion? How to keep up public interest to IDP-related issues and bridge over information fatigue? Those issues were addressed by journalists in Kharkiv, Poltava, Zaporizhia, Lviv and Odessa. During the Forum the discussion was taken to those who develop newsroom policies and carries the responsibility for those. That was done with the purpose of working out practical work tools. 

“War within its own territory is new to Ukraine as well as IDPs and terrorism,” stresses Yelena Barannik, a TV editor from Kharkiv. “I am really grateful to my colleagues for their stories of painful situations from their cities. The stories of fear, desperation, disappointment and hatered that have been overcome. I am sure that joint work will help us tame the pain at least to some extent”. 

“It is important for us to work together,” says Oleh Bulashev – Chief Editor of Kremenchuk Pravda – “adhering to professional standards and ethical norms. That is probably the most valuable impetus that the gave us.” 

The training programme consisted of two-level training events for journalists from different regions of Ukraine, training and editorial help to Hromadske TV in its work on the Displaced documentary episodes and the Editors Forum in Kyiv. Moreover, consultations with local editors were organised in Kharkiv, Poltava and Lviv with participation of the experts of the project.  


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