Media in Ukraine one year since the invasion: "The whole world was relying on factual regional information" | Europe/Central Asia | DW | 24.02.2023
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages


Media in Ukraine one year since the invasion: "The whole world was relying on factual regional information"

Since the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s media landscape has changed dramatically. One year on, DW Akademie looks back on the challenges that local and regional media have faced and what lies ahead.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a year on now, changed all media – local, regional, national and international – working in the country. Amid the invasion’s initial shock, organizations in and outside Ukraine had to respond swiftly to an ever-changing situation on the ground. For DW Akademie, this meant adapting previous projects and adjusting to new priorities aimed at keeping journalists and media houses alive.

Before and after the invasion

DW Akademie has been working in Ukraine since 2014. With support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), DW Akademie has provided training and funding for media and media workers.

In 2021, the MediaFit programwas founded with Canal France International and the Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT. Along with supporting Ukraine's public broadcaster UA:PBC, MediaFit's goal was to fight disinformation in predominantly Russian-speaking regions in Ukraine’s southern and eastern regions by supporting media outlets in these target regions.

Following the second invasion, the goal remained yet the approach has changed. It was no longer enough to only support media, but media workers as well.

"The journalists had to survive and had to report on the situation," said MediaFit program director Hélène Champagne. "The whole world was relying on factual regional information."

The European Union, a MediaFit funder, responded quickly and by March, they had provided funds for regional media workers. Through local partners, it provided emergency relocation support, while coordinating editorial teams whenever a journalist or editor needed to go to the front.

The MediaFit project has expanded since the invasion, with 42 organizations now receiving grants, consulting and trainings. Moreover, DW Akademie is now encouraging Russian-language outlets in the south and east to cover news in both Ukrainian and Russian, providing much-needed information about these regions for the entire country.

"We are supporting Ukrainian media for all Ukrainians," said project officer Yulia Alekseeva.

Keeping media viable

Yet trying to bridge the gap across languages only works if media houses keep working. In the Russian-occupied regions, more than 100 regional media outlets have had to suspend their work. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 12 journalists have been killed.

Beyond the physical dangers, close to 75 percent of Ukrainian media outlets across the country lack sufficient funds, while a quarter of local journalists are going without pay, reports the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine. And, as the war continues, the problems multiply.

"There are two periods of the war so far," DW Akademie program director for Ukraine Kyryl Savin explained. "There was March to August, then September to today, where the energy infrastructure is under attack and internet supply has become unreliable."

In response, DW Akademie has been helping newsrooms get power banks that provide up to ten hours of battery life, along with Starlink connections to support internet connectivity. They can now continue their work and DW Akademie can still hold online trainings, psychological support sessions and support higher education institutions.

"Giving up was not an option": MediaFit conference for Ukrainian media professionals

The challenges to come

Yet the question remains, what will the media landscape look like after the war?

As the country struggles with maintaining its infrastructure, messenger services like Telegram and Viber have become reliable lifelines, allowing access to information with very little bandwidth required. Some of these channels have millions of followers and can function in complete anonymity, for better or worse. DW Akademie's partners are succeeding on these platforms as well. Yet, Savin explained, many times the most popular messenger app channels are the ones rife with disinformation and poor journalistic practices.

While these messenger services have expanded access, the war has been the catalyst for new national restrictions. Far-reaching laws on publishing and government-mandated content have been passed for the sake of national security. Yet potential concerns over a postwar media remain in the background, overshadowed by the ever-changing battlefront.

Throughout it all, DW Akademie and their partners are committed to local and regional media, equipping both to provide Ukrainians with factual, high-quality information through these difficult times, and those to come.

DW recommends