What do journalists think of reforms in Ukraine?

There is a continued strong public demand for reporting on reforms, with more than 50 percent of respondents to the 2017 Media Consumption Survey saying that the information they receive about key reforms is “insufficient”.

As part of the USAID-funded U-Media small grants program, Internews supports raising public awareness of the key reforms across Ukraine by producing high-quality multimedia content on reforms in decentralization, energy efficiency, healthcare, education and the pension sector.

Ukraine’s decentralization reform process started back in 2014 when the Government adopted the new Local Governance and Territorial Organization Concept. Now, almost in its fifth year, the reform is branded as one of the most successful reforms the country saw. As a result, about 50 percent of local communities united and underwent the initial reform across the country.

Journalists are one of the first groups in society who react to change. They are collecting success stories and share those with the public.

In cooperation with the NGO “Kharkiv Press Club of Market Reforms” we are supporting an ongoing project titled “Coverage of Reforms by Regional Media in Ukraine” to raise local residents’ awareness of progress in the key reforms implementation.

A group of people stand on a dirt road taking photos next to a van.

Since January 2017, the project has managed to create a pool of journalists who participate in inter-regional exchanges. Together they build a platform for discussions about the roles journalists play under the conditions of hybrid war.

As of today, the Kharkiv Press Club organized 10 press tours with a total of 85 participants. The journalists visited various sites and local community-led decentralization projects aimed at improving the overall living standards, medical services, education, and transportation services. Moreover, overcoming negative stereotypes formed by the Russian propaganda channels is among the project’s priorities.

A group of people stand near an exercise area on a busy street

Lyudmyla Ostrovska, editor from Ternopil’s TopNews website and one of participants in a press tour to Zhytomyr region in November, 2017, praised the opportunity of ‘seeing with her own eyes the life of communities and sharing their passion for change’.

“We met with heads of local communities and we saw this spark in their eyes. I have seen how determined they feel about their bright future and how they re-invented that feeling of being a master of their own fate. They are also telling us that people are awake now too,” she adds.

Yuliya Sabayeva, from Telegazeta Starobilsk says: “I saw decentralization in action. I saw how I can draw lines to my region. It’s an agricultural one with scarce population – I’m talking about the northern districts in Luhansk region. Decentralization is not something that goes smoothly in my region. For instance, they created only one amalgated territorial community in my native district – by uniting three villages. So, here with Vysokiv community [that we visited during our press tour] – what is so exemplary about it? It’s small by population numbers, but at the same time it is quite successful. It serves a very good example for our region”.

Watch full video (in Ukrainian) where other participants share their impressions:

With a goal to strengthen inter-regional cooperation between journalists, the Kharkiv Press Club works closely with similar organizations in Sumy, Dnipro, Kherson, Ternopil, Lutsk, Zhytomyr, Odesa, and Uzhhorod.