ECEAP has implemented three phases of the project, which focused on a total of 15 regions in Southern, Central, Eastern, and Western Ukraine, engaging around 600 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. „Building Democratic Resilience in Ukraine Through Strenghtening Local and Regional Media“ project during 2020-2021 focuses on Cherkasy, Vinnytsia, Kirovohrad, Zhytomyr, and Zakarpattia regions. Phase IV will complement and build upon the three previous projects/ phases focusing on five regions in Western Ukraine: Chernivtsi, Volyn, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, and Rivne.
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 who shared best practices and lessons learned and provided insight into the role and responsibilities of journalists. The participants realized the importance of taking any information critically, since very often stereotypes formed in modern society do not have any reasonable basis. They were provided with insight about the difference between hate speech and the language of hostility, drawing attention also to the mild varieties of these phenomenons, which are often used in everyday life. The journalists have gained new knowledge and skills in terms of the standards of the profession. In particular, how stereotyped thinking can affect the quality of the content, the consequences of using hate-speech, how disinformation and hostile information operations can polarize the society, etc. 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. Round tables, press tours and study visits conducted within the project enabled the participants to establish contacts with a wide range of state authorities and decision makers as well as understand and experience how independent European media works.
By implementing the phase IV of the project, the project would cover almost the entire Ukraine (20 regions in total) with unique training programs, giving an exceptional opportunity for the participants to compare the processes of post-Soviet reforms and Euro-Atlantic integration in Ukraine with Estonian experience. As a result, it will not only strengthen information integrity in regions, but will definitely support the capacity of civil society organizations in Ukraine to engage in policy dialogue, to act as governance actors and to drive the country’s social and economic development. The project also builds cooperation and information exchange between local journalists from different regions and with journalists and media outlets in Estonia.
The project is implemented with financial support from the U.S. Department of State Office of the Assistance Coordinator for Europe and Eurasia under the Eighth Round of the Development Cooperation Partnership (DCP) Program and Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the funds of development cooperation and humanitarian aid. ECEAP will be implementing this project in cooperation with the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.