The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and the Regional Press Development Institute (RPDI) in Kyiv are launching the project ‘re:start democratic discourse‘ in the Southeast of Ukraine. Its main purpose is to improve the professional skills of media workers and the media literacy of the population.

According to a 2017 study by USAID, a broad majority of citizens in rural Ukraine does not have any trust in media, whether it‘s TV, radio, print or internet. The reason for this is a massive intrusion of disinformation and biased articles serving political or economic stakeholders into mass media. The ECPMF and RPDI intend to improve the situation by stimulating a greater production of and a greater demand for quality journalism.
The project „re:start democratic discourse“ consists of three elements – a social media campaign for press and media freedom; trainings for bloggers, citizen-journalists and reporters from small media outlets and media literacy courses for pupils, students and citizens.
The logo of the project is an owl. It metaphorically stands for wisdom and insight. The slogan is ‘behind the news’. In social media the organisers will primarily work with animations. The first digital outlet of the project is the Facebook page. The training programme will start in mid August. And the plan is to send a group of ten Ukrainian journalists on a study trip to Germany.

“This project is extremely important for both Ukrainian media and society. We have the opportunity to increase the media literacy of Ukrainians and to improve the professional skills of regional journalists and bloggers in the southern and eastern regions“, says Olga Trufanova, Director of RPDI. “Presently, we are focusing on regions which are most prone to progaganda and biased, often fake, news. This is especially important considering the upcoming elections. We hope to continue the project in the future and extend it to other regions.”
“We are happy to realise our first project with RPDI, one of the most experienced NGOs in Ukraine“, says Lutz Kinkel, Managing Director of the ECPMF. “Ukraine is a battlefield for media freedom and disinformation. We seek to build a sustainable partnership and knowledge exchange because the situation won’t change tomorrow.“

The Regional Institute for Development of the Press (RPDI) in Kyiv is a Ukrainian non-profit organisation. The Institute was founded in 2006 and since then has implemented projects worth 4.6 million US dollars. The RPDI promotes a democratic civil society through the development of independent, sustainable and pluralist media in the Ukraine.

The project ‘re:start democratic discourse’ is supported by the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs.