Ukrainian broadcasters prioritise owners’ interests, study finds
A BCME partner in Ukraine, NGO Detector Media issued a report “Main trends in media coverage of sociopolitical processes in Ukraine”, based on the results of Ukrainian TV and radio monitoring between 2014 -2017.
The study highlights the main trends in the coverage of socio-political news by the nationwide Ukrainian TV channels and assesses the impact of the political environment and interests of media owners on the editorial policies of the Ukrainian broadcasters, concluding that the political environment in Ukraine and Russian propaganda are the key factors significantly influencing the news aired by the Ukrainian TV channels.
The monitoring results indicate that Ukrainian private TV channels disregard the interests of the society, prioritizing the interests of their owners, thus presenting a distorted reality to their audiences. This, in combination with the overall decreasing quality of news has led to a significant decline of confidence in the nationwide Ukrainian TV-channels in recent years. This affirmation is supported by the findings of another independent study referred to in the Detector Media report, indicating worrying dynamics of citizens’ confidence in the Ukrainian media, a drop from +26% in 2010 to +2% in 2015.
Furthermore, the study notes limited progress in development of the Ukrainian public broadcaster Newsroom, hence the need to further monitor the content of the public broadcaster’ channels, analyse the results of the public broadcaster’s work and provide the institution with capacity-building support towards increasing its staff’ professionalism in dealing with news production.
The monitoring of the media carried by Detector Media also touched upon Russian propaganda, found by the study authors to have a prevailing narrative of Ukraine and Ukrainians as "enemies" of Russians.
The study concludes that given the currents aggressive information space in Ukraine and the media market dominated by oligarchs, it is crucial to speed up the implementation of the Ukrainian public broadcasting reform and invest more effort in increasing media literacy and critical thinking among various social status groups.The whole report can be accessed here
Countries where journalists are murdered regularly and their killers go free are mostly conflict environments, where powerful actors use violent means to control media coverage, while weak-to-nonexistent law and order increases the likelihood of attacks.