News Society, 12/09/2019

Donbas Media Forum in Kharkiv

Donbas Media Forum took place in Kharkiv on September 5-6. For five consecutive years, the Donetsk Institute of Information has been hosting the event for representatives of domestic and foreign media. About 600 participants, including foreign experts, representatives of the new authorities and NGOs collaborating with media, took part in it. The main slogan of this year’s forum was “Time to choose journalistic standards.”

According to the organizers, the topics for this year’s exchanges were: information policy on the reintegration of the occupied territories of Donbas; resistance to manipulation in the media during election process; international cooperation against disinformation; exchange of experience in covering events at war zones.

“Entire cities and towns in Donbas became crime scenes, where the first victims were journalists and people who expressed their thoughts. We appeal to the authorities to protect freedom of speech and release our colleagues from the captivity of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics,” noted the chairman of the organizing committee and the head of the board of the Donetsk Institute of Information Oleksiy Matsuka during the forum’s opening ceremony.

Natasha Yefimoff, the head of the press and information section of the representative office of the European Union in Ukraine, noted the necessity for deoligarchization of the media and intensification of investigations against those who committed crimes against journalists.

Oleksiy Matsuka considers that nowadays, information policy in the regions where hostilities are taking place should be carefully considered.

“There are very few genuine independent editorials which are capable of delivering objective information in the east. Under such circumstances, the level of trust in the Ukrainian media in Donbas is decreasing,” Oleksiy stressed.

This year’s forum is a combination of discussions and training which cover three common areas: content, distribution and management.

As part of the event, panel discussions were held on the topics: “Media as a tool for the  manipulation of public opinion during electoral turbulence and how to resist it,” “Social networks as an environment for the growth of populism and a tool for manipulating of public opinion,” and “Organized and conscious editorial activity as a factor against the manipulation in the media.”

This time, the organizers paid special attention to more practical aspects: workshops, exchanges of experience and discussions.

The Forum is supported by the EU Delegation to Ukraine, the US Embassy, Internews Network, United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Program (UN RPP), jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Program, UN Women, UNFPA and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Ukraine.

Text: Natalia Ivanova

Photo: uatv.ua, Donbas News