Press freedom has improved in Ukraine since the Orange Revolution in 2004, but serious challenges remain. The legislative framework guaranteeing media freedom is inadequate and the ownership structure of national broadcast and print media lacks transparency. Professionalism of journalists in state-owned and regional media remains low and implementation of professional ethics standards is poor.
The situation has become increasingly fragile following moves by the government to monopolise Ukrainian media. Editorial freedom is limited, and journalists face managerial and financial pressure. Self-censorship is widespread along with pre-paid materials in print outlets and broadcasting. However, Ukrainian civil society is well-developed and enjoys some level of trust alongside state institutions.
IMS has worked to support media in Ukraine since May 2008 focusing on drafting and reforming media legislation to introduce public service broadcasting, to increase transparency of media ownership, and to ensure equal market conditions and pluralism of Ukrainian media. This is done in close partnership with national and international partners.
To improve media policy-making and strategic litigation in media-related cases, IMS trains media lawyers in media law and strengthens the capacity of the Media Law Institute in Ukraine. IMS also works to improve access to public information and accountability of the country’s administration through legal reform and advocates for better access to information.
The IMS Programme for Ukraine has achieved the following since the launch of the Programme in May 2008:
- Law on Access to Public Information adopted by the Parliament
- New website developed for the National Council on TV and Radio to ensure more transparency of media ownership.
- More than 110 lawyers from different CIS countries have completed 3-week training courses in international media law standards.
- More than 20 lawyers trained in strategic litigation, more than 50 participants have been trained to be trainers in the new “access to information legislation”, more than 200 people trained in access to information.