ECEAP has implemented two phases of the project, which focused on a total of 10 regions in Southern and Eastern Ukraine, engaging around 400 journalists and journalism students. “Developing the professional capacity of regional media representatives in Ukraine” project during 2017-2018 focused on Odessa, Kherson, Donetsk (Mariupol), Zaporizhia and Mykolaiv. “Strengthening independent media in regions of Ukraine” project during 2018-2019 focused on Luhansk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Sumy and Chernihiv regions. Phase III will complement and build upon the two previous projects/ phases focusing on five regions in Central and Western Ukraine: Cherkasy, Vinnytsia, Kirovohrad, Zhytomyr, and Zakarpattia.
The previous phases provided much-appreciated opportunities to local and regional journalists to participate in hands-on practical, interactive workshops led by well-experienced media representatives from Estonia. They shared best practices and lessons learned and provided insight into the role and responsibilities of journalists. The participants were also able to engage in open discussions with their colleagues and state authorities on topics related to reforms taking place in Ukraine. The participants indicated in their feedback that the project activities helped them become better at explaining difficult but important processes to their audiences, for example, reforms impacting consumer rights protection, food quality and road infrastructure, which impact most of the local population. Discussion roundtables, press tours and study visits enabled the participants to establish contacts with a wide range of state authorities as well as understand and experience how independent European media works.
The overall goal of the project is to build greater democratic resilience in Ukraine by strengthening local and regional media, which play an important role in shaping local opinions and attitudes. The aim of the approach in the previous two phases was to encourage a shift among the media outlets away from Russia’s sphere of information and more toward that of Ukraine, whereas phase III will focus more specifically on how media can counter polarization attempts and promote harmony within and between communities.
This project is financed by the Emerging Donors Challenge Fund (USAID) and the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the funds of development cooperation. ECEAP will be implementing this project in cooperation with the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.