Ukraine’s information policy needs a comprehensive reform to deal with internal and external threats

We live in an information-driven society, and the transmission of information is the main responsibility of the media. In Ukraine, television is the most trusted news source for most Ukrainians. However, analysis of the country’s media market can easily reveal major flaws in its information policy. This is especially important for Ukraine’s national security when it maintains war with Russia and its pro-Moscow separatist allies. Therefore, the current policy must be improved and revised.

There are three main problems in the modern Ukrainian television market: the lack of supervision by government agencies and the political biased structure of television channel ownership

The Ukrainian television market is relatively young and always responds to political changes in Ukraine. Although Ukraine’s creative industries are considered to be one of the most developed and successful industries in the former Soviet Union, these channels still confuse audiences, make the political arena more chaotic, and make the media no longer a public watchdog.

In addition, all of these

lack supervision []these channels show relative weakness in Ukraine’s current information policy, and it is urgently needed to be revised because it is still subject to false information The threat of war and Kremlin propaganda.

It turns out that all broadcasters in Ukraine cannot strictly abide by the country’s guidelines and cannot maintain any consistency. The lack of discipline is further exacerbated in a world of false information, which may lead to social unrest and even the collapse of a country’s political system. The so-called "fake news", prejudicial reports and false information have seriously affected the lives of ordinary people. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the dangerous spread of conspiracy theories shows that there is an urgent need for some form of media supervision to prevent [19659002] The National Council of Television and Radio Stations of Ukraine is the country’s official regulatory agency, which has the power to punish any violation of the Ukrainian language and even stop broadcasting. However, despite many controversies, in recent years, no country’s channel has been punished for serious violations of the law.

International news program, one of the country’s main channels, was accused of sharing apparently false reports, including a story from 2016 that was said to detail the representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukraine "Meetings" with US and EU ambassadors. The embassy denied that it had ever held any such meetings.

The channel’s main talk show Everybody's Business Cases involving the exploitation of minors due to disrespect for human rights have received strong public opposition. The most recent episode is about a 12-year-old pregnant girl who was called the "Worst Reality Show" by the British tabloid as Taiyang .

In recent years, one of the biggest media controversies has come from the channel ] Ukraine and its series from the pro-Russian Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republic. The show portrayed armed groups in a positive light and described their actions as "fighting for the freedom of Donbass" and "against the Kyiv military government".

All these cases are reviewed by the National Assembly, but

the Security Council lacks initiative and only encourages channels such as Inter and Ukraine to ignore the country’s ethics . As a result, these three cases are just the tip of the iceberg, and the entire media and information environment is full of prejudice, forgery and false information. This is why the Security Council needs stronger regulations and policies.

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In other words, a clear line must be drawn between regulation and control. The council does not have to control the market or determine the rules of the game through the kind of blatant censorship that people see in China or Russia. On the contrary, thorough and in-depth analysis and a reliable fact-checking process will verify the credibility of the reported story.

To ensure the independence of this process, the Security Council may cooperate with investigative journalists and other groups to carry out appropriate review procedures for this activity. In addition, a rigorous and clear framework must be established to specify the penalties that can be taken against offenders. This must be implemented in a legal environment that guarantees that such guardrails will not become useless. One of the key elements that must be included in this framework is the degree of violation associated with the following penalties.

Focusing on program types, not channels, can help with regulation, not state control. Latvia has adopted a similar approach to the country’s laws in order to combat fake news and false information.

The "political identity" of the market

Some channels in Ukraine really consider themselves political, but most channels broadcast a series of biased programs , Its purpose is to manipulate rather than promote public opinion. The foregoing regulations may help solve this problem, because content creators on these TV channels use many well-known techniques to spread false information and prompt viewers to think about specific topics. Most importantly, the root of this problem lies in the ownership structure of the Ukrainian television market.

To understand the details, it is important to analyze Ukraine’s 12 TV channels based on their ratings share. All channels of these 15 channels are owned by major media groups and owned by Ukrainian oligarchs, which are all connected to Ukrainian politics.

Since 2013, Inter Media Group has been composed of oligarchs Dmitry Firtash and Sergei Liovochkin. During the chairmanship of Viktor Yanukovych, Firtash was appointed to several positions in his government, including the National Committee for Cooperation with the World Trade Organization. Liovochkin was once the chief executive of Yanukovych presidential palace and a member of the opposition party platform-life -a political party in the Ukrainian Parliament. Liovochkin is also notorious for aligning the presidency of Yanukovych with key elements and interests of the Russian political elite.

Ukraine’s most notorious oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov owns the Ukraine network, which also includes the channel NLO TV. Akhmetov is best known as the chairman of Shakhtar football club, but he also has deep political connections, which can be traced back many years. In 2006, he was a member of the Ukrainian Parliament of the Party of Regions led by Yanukovych.

1 + 1 media one of the strongest countries in the country, still firmly holds Igor Kolomsky, who continues to play an important role in Ukrainian politics. Kolomoisky). From 2014 to 2015, Kolomoisky served as the head of the Dnepropetrovsk region government. His channel was the key to the popular promotion of the current president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, because 1 + 1 produced Zelensky’s extremely successful political farce- People serve.

Kolomoisky caused an uproar earlier this year when he changed his previous pro-Western stance in an interview on Ukraine-Russia relations and said that Ukraine should return to Russian orbit.

1 + 1 shares also belong to Oksana Marchenko, a TV presenter and pro-Russian opposition platform-lifetime political party and Vladimir Putin (Vladimir) Putin) godfather of one of his daughters.

The name of the most influential media group in Ukraine belongs to StarLightMedia, which is owned by Viktor and Olena Pinchuk. The former, like his rivals, are both oligarchs and political figures, and has strong ties to Ukraine’s political elite-he is the son of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma (Leonid Kuchma). Pinchuk is known as a supporter of political change and a patron of modern art. In an article in the Wall Street Journal in 2016, Pinchuk proposed that the Ukrainian government formally reject the idea of ​​joining the European Union and NATO forever, which was severely criticized by certain sectors of Ukrainian society. [19659002] Ukrainian channels follow their owners’ political whimsical

All channel owners are connected to the political process in Ukraine, so it is easy to predict that the substance of its content depends on the most

The popular channel, Ukraine supports two political parties- Motherland led by Yulia Tymoshenko, and Servant The people created and led by President Zelensky. Channels ICTV and UA: First seem to be neutral, which is especially surprising since ICTV is connected to Pinchuk. 1 + 1 has the most diverse political framework in its plan, and expressed support for three different parties, a relatively new party Facing the future by Igor Pali West Asia (Igor Palytsia) led, and has the support of Kolomoisky. Pinchuk’s STB supports the Liberal Party Holos . Finally, Inter is open to the opposition platform led by [Medvedchuk] and another pro-Russian oligarch Vadim Rabinovych-the lifetime opposition [19900006] attitude.

Although news channels are not very popular, they are the main source of information for many Ukrainians.

Straightforward and the 5th th channel is owned directly or with other parties, so the ownership structure here is even more political than the ownership structure of conventional programming . Former President Peter Poroshenko (Petro Poroshenko). ZIK NEWSONE 112 Ukraine and OURS are owned by Meda Vedchuk’s close friend Taras Kozak. UNIAN is owned by Kolomoisky’s 1 + 1 Media ESPRESO is owned by the son of Ukrainian billionaire Konstantin Zhevago, and is 24th Channel is owned by Andrey Sadovy, the mayor of Lviv.

Poroshenko decided to focus on news channels to promote his European Solidarity Party . OURS channel supports the opposition party another party led by Yanukovych’s former deputy prime minister Alexander Vilkul. Although these channels say they are political in nature, they manipulate and try to hide the political interests of their owners.

If the government pays more attention and invests more resources into the operation of public broadcasting companies, the market may change. , It faces the problem of insufficient funds. Compared with other media in Ukraine, the programming of the public broadcaster is truly neutral and meets all the standards of a reliable news media. If broadcasters finally get some much-needed resources, they can play a leading role in the market and provide new trends in providing information to the Ukrainian people.

International Broadcasting

Ukraine lives in a state of continuous information warfare. Information warfare has many levels and participants, most of which are related to Russian propaganda. The Kremlin has spent countless resources to help spread false information about the situation in Ukraine around the world, including up to the Trump administration.

Due to Ukraine's provincial government, this coordinated disinformation campaign has attracted audiences both at home and abroad regarding the existence and lack of perceptions in the international broadcasting market, and there is almost no foreign media broadcasting regularly in Ukraine. Therefore, Ukraine must develop an appropriate strategy, in which the strengthening of international broadcasting must be a key element.

The Ministry of Information Policy has now merged with the Ministry of Culture, but it was a separate agency government during Poroshenko's time, and its main focus was to spread good pro-government stories about Poroshenko's initiative. This means that a very important aspect of international broadcasting is completely focused on hard news in Ukraine.

The end result made it increasingly difficult to combat destructive propaganda from abroad. Russia owns Russia Today (RT) and international versions of its main channels ( Channel 1 Russia, Russian One etc.) international media. They have high ratings and a lot of Russian Government financial support. Without a reactionary motion, describe Ukraine’s policies and Ukraine itself from the perspective of the Russian leaders and their interests.

It is true that the government and private networks have made some moderate efforts to attract international audiences, including UATV and 1 + 1 International . But UATV never had enough variety or serious content, so it quickly became the source of government mouthpiece propaganda. These are not the interest of foreign audiences, nor will they arouse the interest of foreign audiences, which eventually led to UATV shutting down its international broadcasting in January.

1 + 1 International has no information value, only created a rebroadcast program by 1 + 1 Media .

Poland’s TVP Polonia can be used as a model for the future Ukrainian International Broadcasting Corporation to build a new, more professional and effective new network. TVP Polonia is considered to be Poland's main source of information on the international TV market and has a diverse content framework.

Looking to the future

Ukraine’s information policy must be revised to solve the current problems in the Ukrainian television market. First, the government must pay more attention to market supervision and establish a clear and understandable framework to punish violations of news standards. However, the regulation need not threaten the country’s freedom of speech.

In order to provide reliable information to the Ukrainian public, Ukrainian private television networks must become increasingly independent of the political interests of their owners. Most importantly, stronger support for public broadcasters can force private channels to follow the basic news standards of a free society and get rid of biased reporting.

That means that the government must pay more attention to the flow of false information into the country, especially from Russia. All of this can help improve the Ukrainian TV market and enable people to access high-quality content, which will bring more political stability and even save lives.

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