1⃣ Analytics and monitorings
IMI is conducting Ukraine’s only systemic monitoring of freedom of press, which is the main indicator of development of the media sector for the audience inside and outside Ukraine. The monitoring results (Freedom of Press Barometer) serve as the underpinning for conducting campaigns, addresses to the government, statements and evaluations of the civil society, legislative initiatives inside Ukraine; they are also used by the EU, UN, OSCE, Reporters Without Borders, Freedom House, and other international organizations for evaluation of democratic development of the country, creating ratings, evaluation of legitimacy of the elections in the country, etc.
During the Revolution of Dignity events, IMI recorded and checked all attacks on journalists, and created a full authentic list of violations of freedom of press, which included 206 cases. This list was submitted for investigation to law enforcement agencies and to Ukrainian MPs and international organizations.
Every week, IMI experts are sending to law enforcement agencies the list of violations of freedom of press, with corresponding legal comments. Thanks to the systemic work with law enforcement bodies, the number of cases that were investigated and submitted to the court has grown from 11 in 2015 – to 31 based on the results of 2016. For comparison, before 2015, on average from 1 to 3 cases concerning violations of journalists’ rights would make it to the court in a year.
Except the freedom of press monitoring, IMI is also conducting the monitoring of prominent printed and online mass media as to observance of professional standards and publication of covertly commissioned materials. On the basis of the monitoring results, IMI has been publishing ratings of significant Ukrainian mass media, which receive a wide response in the society, as well as organizing campaigns, developing analytical materials, and exposing, which political forces commission covert advertisement in mass media most often. For instance, in the period of the election campaign to local councils (October 2015) IMI identified most prolific commissioners of covert political advertisement: the party «Ukrop», the Opposition Bloc, and the party «Nash Kray». Among the regions of Ukraine evaluated by the IMI experts, the ones with the highest share of covertly commissioned advertisement were Dnipropetrovska and Zaporizka oblasts.
IMI is conducting the regular monitoring of mass media (Liga, Ukrainska Pravda, UNIAN, Livy Bereh, Obozrevatel, Ukrinform, Censor, Korespondent, Vesti, 112) as to observance of the journalist standards in authored materials. It monitors observance of five key journalist standards: balance of opinions, authenticity, separating facts from comments, accuracy and completeness of presented facts.
Since 2013, annually IMI conducts the gender monitoring of mass media, which has shown imbalanced representation of men and women in journalist materials in online and printed mass media. Only 16% of the experts commenting for mass media, are women. 25 % of mass media materials feature women as protagonists. Traditionally «women’s» topics are believed to be preschool and school education, fashion, beauty and housekeeping. Politics, economics, law are still perceived as «men’s» topics.
IMI has a network of correspondents in all regions of Ukraine, except for the annexed Crimea.
Conclusions by IMI experts are used as the underpinning for numerous campaigns, for instance, the campaign against impunity, within the framework of which working groups with the new government have been established; the campaign “Enemies of Press”, the campaign on promoting the standards of journalism in the regions as well as other campaigns.
2⃣ Legislative work
IMI media lawyers co-authored and participated in development of the following Laws of Ukraine:
- Law of Ukraine «On Access to Public Information» (2011);
- «On Making amendments to some legislative acts of Ukraine in connection with adoption of the Law of Ukraine «On Information” and the Law of Ukraine «On Access to Public Information”;
- Law of Ukraine «On Information” in the new wording (with amendments as of 2011);
- «On Making amendments to some laws of Ukraine on securing transparency of ownership of media outlets and implementation of the governmental policy principles in the sphere of television and radio broadcasting”;
- «On making amendments to some laws of Ukraine on the language of audiovisual (digital) media outlets”;
- «On making amendments to some laws of Ukraine on the share of music in the official language in programs of TV and radio organizations”;
- Amendments to the Law of Ukraine «On Public television and radio broadcasting of Ukraine» (2015);
- «On Condemnation of Communist and National-Socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and prohibition of their symbols”.
Also, IMI lawyers developed proposals as to amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine as to protection of journalist activities; amendments to the legislation on elections in the media part.
In Ukraine, IMI is a partner: — co-founder of the Independent Media Council — member of the public council under the Verkhovna Rada on the issues of freedom of press and information — member of the public council under the Parliamentary Caucus «Equal Opportunities» — partner of NGO «Fulcrum» —IMI experts are members of the Media group of NGO ‘Reanimation Reform Package’ and of the working group on the issues of freedom of press under the Presidential Administration.
3⃣ Journalists’ safety
In 2013, IMI launched the free-of-charge Security Library for Journalists, who were covering the Revolution of Dignity, and later – the conflict in Crimea and in the East of Ukraine.
Thanks to the support from the Ukrainian office of the Council of Europe, Freedom House, Reporters Without Borders, and as the cost of contributions from journalists themselves, IMI managed first to purchase protective gear for journalists, who were covering the events of the Revolution of Dignity on Maidan (face masks to protect from the tear gas, snowboard helmets, orange vests, stickers, ballistic protective spectacles). Later, more gear was purchased for the Security Library – 40 4+ class bullet-proof vests, 20 kevlar helmets, and first aid kits, which have already saved lives of two journalists. Overall, since 2014, more than 500 journalists have used services of the Security Library.
IMI invited the American specialized organization RISC to conduct trainings on first aid for Ukrainian journalists and freelancers. The 5-day training took place in Kyiv, on April 5-9, 2015. Twenty four participants of the training received certificates, which in the U.S. and EU serve as the ground for getting the insurance.
Seven trainings on practice grounds were held in Ukraine with involvement of local trainers-experts. The total of 140 journalists, photographers, and freelancers completed safety trainings with the support from IMI.
Since 2016, IMI has been supporting operation of a separate platform dedicated exclusively to journalists’ safety – J-SOS.
Since 2017, IMI began working with the British fund Rory Peck Trust for improvement of Ukrainian freelance journalists’ capacity to take care about their safety.
4⃣ Campaigns and initiatives
Media Ownership Transparency. In 2016, IMI, in partnership with Reporters Without Borders, for the first time in Ukraine, conducted the research of the state of transparency of Ukrainian media market and of threats for mass media’s pluralism. The research results were published on a separate platform.
In particular, the research showed a high risk of horizontal concentration of owners of mass media, as well as a high risk of political control over mass media funding. On the basis of this research, IMI experts prepared the research of media ownership transparency in 10 regions of Ukraine, within the framework of which actual owners of regional media outlets were investigated and made public; they also evaluated the level of transparency of all types of mass media in the regions of Ukraine. According to the research data, only 8% of regional media publish at least some financial information about their media outlets, and only 19% published their editorial principles and policy; only 40% of the monitored regional media published information about their management, and only 45% published information about their editors-in-chief and owners of the media outlet.
⏺ No to Corruption. IMI is supporting operation of the web platform for bloggers and local activists «No to Corruption!» since 2012, within the framework of the project «Bloggers of Ukraine against Corruption» with Freedom House’ support. The project aims to encourage local public activists and bloggers to expose corruption at the local level. In 2016, the website published 532 journalist investigations, of which 110 were prepared by our bloggers, and 1,847 news covering corruption at the local level. The project supports regular cooperation with 50 active bloggers from different cities of Ukraine, who are publishing their investigations on the website.
⏺ Database of experts for mass media. Since October 2016, in Ukraine the database of reliable experts for media outlets was launched with the purpose of improving the quality and reliability of comments and evaluations in media, as well as of increasing visibility of female experts in Ukrainian mass media. The database was developed by NGO “Institute of Mass Information” with the support from the MATRA program of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ukraine. IMI lawyers outlined the criteria for approval of experts for expert4.media, and namely — no unprofessional or covertly commissioned comments in the past. Currently, the project’s database has amassed more than 500 experts in 26 categories: law, economics, ATO, education and science, environment, language policy, culture and art, media, gender, international activity, power industry, ІТ, etc. With time, the list will expand.
⏺ Research of the media situation in the Southern and Eastern oblasts of Ukraine is an analytical product of quality and quantity monitoring of mass media conducted by NGO «Institute of Mass Information», and the public opinion poll conducted by the company «GfK Ukraine» with the support from the Ukraine Confidence Building Initiative (UCBI), which receives funding from USAID (the U.S. Agency for International Development). Within the framework of this research, the monitoring of local media outlets of Kharkiv, Odesa, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolayiv, Kherson, Donetska oblast (Kramatorsk and Mariupol) and Luhanska oblast (Severodonetsk) was conducted during January-February 2017. In each region, IMI experts analyzed news in three printed media, four popular online media outlets and two TV channels. Overall, they processed 2,612 materials of printed media outlets, 4,692 materials of online media outlets, and 650 TV materials. The monitoring of eight popular online media outlets of the so called “DPR” and “LPR” was conducted by IMI experts during January-February 2017. Overall, they assessed 2,097 news that were published in the period of January 17-25, 2017. The research of media transparency was conducted during January-February 2017 in 8 cities of the South and East of Ukraine — Kharkiv, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Odesa, Mykolayiv, Kherson, Donetska oblast (Kramatorsk, Mariupol), Luhanska oblast (Severodonetsk). IMI experts evaluated 161 media outlets as to availability to their audience of the following information: about their owners, management, contacts, estimated audience, the outlet’s editorial policy and financial information about the media outlet. The public opinion poll was conducted by the company GfK as commissioned by the Institute of Mass Information with the support from the Ukrainian Confidence Building Initiative (UCBI) and USAID in January-February 2017 in eight oblasts of the South and East of Ukraine (Dnipropetrovska, Kharkivska, Zaporizka, Mykolayivska, Khersonska, Odeska, and the territories of Donetska and Luhanska oblasts under control of the government of Ukraine). The poll covered 15,103 respondents. The theoretical margin of error of the entire sample does not exceed 1% and 2.5% for each oblast with probability of 0.95. The first wave of the research was conducted in November 2015 – January 2016 and covered 13,830 respondents in six oblasts of the East and the South of Ukraine (all listed above, except for Khersonska and Mykolayivska oblasts).
⏺ Digital safety. IMI conducts trainings and provide consultations to journalists, civil society, human rights advocates, on digital security: how to protect data, communications, how to select the right software, etc. During 2016, more than 400 participants completed digital security trainings from IMI experts. Moreover, IMI conducts systemic monitoring of cyber crimes against mass media and journalists in Ukraine.
5⃣ Guidebooks for journalists
In 2016, IMI published a series of guidebooks for journalists, civil activists, and employees of press services :
? Media compass. A handbook for professional journalist. The guidebook covers key standards of professional journalism, genres of informational journalism, verification of information from social networks, ethics and peculiarities of coverage of armed conflicts, as well as legal responsibility of journalists and editorial offices.
? Journalist and (No) Safety. A guidebook offers practical recommendations for journalists working in dangerous conditions like conflict zones or mass disturbances. The guidebook covers such topics as planning the trip, logistics (choosing the lodging, means of transportation, selection of recording equipment and protective gear), first aid, psychological safety, peculiarities of work with conflict-affected groups of the population, etc. It provides detailed advice on journalists’ digital security. It explains legal aspects of journalists’ work in dangerous zones (from international legislation that provides for journalists’ protection to protection of journalists’ labor rights).
? Communication for public initiatives. The guidebook for those who create change. The guidebook addresses communication for public initiatives comprehensively — from planning an informational campaign to organization of the work week of the communications team. This book will be most useful for public activists and teams that are beginning their activities or planning for new tasks.
? Practical guidebook for staff of communication structures in governmental agencies. The guidebook is aimed for press services of governmental agencies, especially of local level, and explains planning of work, building communication strategies, work in the conditions of a crisis, effective work with media, how to write an engaging press release, etc.