Kyiv, 10 December 2015 – Thompson Foundation, the European Journalism Centre, Association Spilnyi Prostir, MEMO 98 and the Institute for Regional Media and Information are implementing a project called “Regional Voices: Strengthening conflict sensitive coverage in Ukraine's regional media” which aims to decrease potential areas of conflict through balanced news output in the regional media, thereby contributing to a decrease in communal tensions, specifically between IDPs and their host communities. The project is funded by the European Union.
“EU implements different projects to assist IDPs in Ukraine directly, but there is also a need to support media in sustaining a healthy public discussion on IDPs integration” said Helga Pender, the EU Sector Manager for Crisis Response. The project envisions development of an early warning capacity of incendiary coverage of conflict related issues through consistent media monitoring and evaluation, including on election coverage, of participating regional media. MEMO 98 and Spilnyi Prostir jointly prepared methodology of monitoring the media coverage of IDPs and trained 65 regional analysts (in Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Odessa) to conduct quantitative and qualitative analysis of the regional media coverage in connection with the above-mentioned topic. Between 1 – 23 October, the monitoring team conducted the first monitoring of a number of monitoring exercises, with a special focus on how the topic of IDPs is reported ahead of the 25 October local elections. The first four monitoring reports conducted in the framework of the project have been just released.
“Our monitoring indicated that there was a general lack of stories and articles with a proper analysis of the IDP-related issues” said Lesya Yaroshenko of Association Spilnij Prostir, “When media reported on IDPs, it was usually in a limited and superficial manner or in the context of other issues as if it was not an important topic requiring a more profound public discussion.”
The monitoring sample consisted of a total of 207 monitored media (51 TV channels, 65 print media and 91 online media outlets) in 24 regions of Ukraine divided into 4 main parts – Eastern part (Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv); Western part (Volyn, Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Rivne, Ternopil, Khmelnytsky and Chernivtsi); Northern/Central parts (Sumy, Chernihiv, Zhytomyr, Vinnytsya, Dnipropetrovsk, Kirovohrad, Poltava and Cherkasy) and Southern part (Odessa, Kherson, Zaporizhya, Mykolayiv, ARC).
“I understand that for many Ukrainian journalists covering of IDPs is a relatively new and not an easy topic,” said Rasťo Kužel of MEMO 98, “I really hope that our monitoring will provide useful and constructive feedback to all journalists who understand how important is objective and balanced coverage of this sensitive topic for the society.
There were some differences in the way media in different regions approached the IDP-related topics and issues, including in the amount of allocated time and space devoted to these topics as well as in the tone of coverage in which IDPs and other relevant subjects were portrayed. For example, the monitored media in the Eastern part of Ukraine devoted bigger share of their coverage to IDPs than the media in other regions. At the same time, there were also many common features, including the problems with the lack of balance, poor sourcing, and the lack of diversity of views. While media generally reported on the inability of IDPs to vote in the local elections, they did not seem to look deeper into this issue and offer a more comprehensive coverage. On the other hand, media in general made an effort to use a correct language and terminology when addressing IDPs. There were only a few occasions when they used negative language or mixed IDPs with refugees.
"IDP issues get to the heart of where Ukraine's future lies, how it reforms the state and how that state serves all of its people”, said David Quin of the Thompson Foundation, “The results of this innovative media monitoring program we commissioned as part of the EU backed Regional Voices media training program show that there is some way to go before IDP issues get the attention they deserve.'
The organizations implementing the project will offer a series of trainings to regional media to strengthen their ability to respond to the conflict through enhanced independence and quality of content as well as by strengthening their access to networks, both within Ukraine and beyond its borders. In addition, they will continue issuing periodic monitoring reports to evaluate progress in the regional media reporting as well as to inspire a discussion on the quality of media reporting.
For more information on the project and to see the full monitoring reports, pls contact Lesya Yaroshenko, 066 737 83 18, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media monitoring methodology
Media coverage of IDPs in Ukraine (East)
Media coverage of IDPs in Ukraine (Northern and Central)
Media coverage of IDPs in Ukraine (South)
Media coverage of IDPs in Ukraine (West)