On March 26-30, 2019, the Academy of Ukrainian Press (further AUP) had an honor to invite representatives of foreign media to participation in the project “Ukraine Press Tours” which is realized due to the support of Media Development Foundation, the Embassy of the USA to Ukraine. Top reporters Greece, Latvia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary who work on different media platforms
visited Kyiv, and several towns of Donetsk and Luhansk regions later on. All the series of press tours are aimed to show foreign journalists the real situation in Ukraine and in the east of the country, as well as to introduce the perspective expert vision and opinion of society on various issues. A 5-day program was quite intensive and provided such an opportunity.
Participants of the fifth press tour became:
1. Alexandros Massavetas, Athens, Greece, InsideStory.gr
2. Marija Ivanova Riga, Latvia, Novaya Gazeta Baltia
3. Dmitrius Sulzics Riga, Latvia, Novaya Gazeta Baltia
4. Seda Turkoglu Istanbul, Turkey, Hürriyet
5. Tonya Dimitrova Ruseva Sofia, Bulgaria, Nova TV
6. Szymon Piegza Krakow, Poland, onet.pl
7. Rafal Stanczyk Warsaw, Poland, TVP
8. Rafal Szendzielarz Warsaw, Poland, TVP
9. Ádám Fekő Будапешт, Budapest, Hungary, azonnali.hu
10. Agata Kasprolewicz, Warsaw, Poland, Polskie Radio
On March 26, 2019, we visited the editorial office of “Dzerkalo Tyzhnia” (Weekly Mirror) newspaper and talked to Volodymyr Mostovyi, its founder, and Serhii Rakhmanin, deputy editor-in-chief. The speakers told us about history of newspaper, its activity, principles and values of the team, the ways of countering pressure from public officials, as well as on professional coverage of election
Afterwards, the group visited National Union of Journalists. Serhii Tomilenko, its Head, outlined the freedom of expression issues, the ways of countering impunity among Ukrainian authorities, illegal detainment and persecution of Ukrainian reporters by the Russian Federation, newspaper privatization reform, etc. Participants received English language handouts on findings of monitoring
“Journalists’ Physical Safety Index”.
On the same day we had a meeting with Oleksandr Levchenko, Advisor to the Minister of Temporarily Occupied Territories, Ex-Ambassador of Ukraine to Croatia as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina (2010-2017). In the building of Ministry, the Advisor told our press-tour participants about the real situation on the occupied territories and represented a set of activities that should be done to solve the conflict issues, as well as the perspectives for implementation of UN peace keepers in Donbas. Also, all the present could discuss the peculiarities of international affairs development with Ukraine.
Then, the participants became guests at studio of Hromadske Radio. They spoke there to Kyrylo Lukerenko, executive manager at Hromadske radio. During the meeting, foreign reporters learned about the history of media and media business development in Ukraine, as well as heard about the number of successful projects realized by Hromadske Radio and the perspectives of radio broadcasting in
At the end of the day, the participants went for an excursion around “Mezhyhiria” the former residence of flown ex-President, V. Yanukovych. Foreign reporters expressed their surprise regarding the typical to monarchy attributes of former Ukrainian government.
On March 27, 2019 journalists and organizers travelled to the east of Ukraine. First of all, we visited school #22 of Sloviansk Municipal Council in Semenivka (Donetsk region). The school was completely destroyed during the military actions and renovated after the liberation of the towns from rebels. Serhii Borysenko, school principal told about its renewal.
Afterwards, the participants visited “Donbas Public Service TV” studio in town Sloviansk. We had a conversation with Daria Lytovchenko, scene correspondent. We have been talking about activity of media outlet at the frontline and on the uncontrolled territories, coverage of elections in the region, mood and expectations of local people prior to the Presidential elections.
Then, foreign reporters met with representatives of crisis media center “Siverskyi Donets” in town Severodonetsk (Luhansk region). Serhii Piatnytsia, its team member, outlined the history of media center foundation after the liberation of the town from militants as the initiative of active citizens, not indifferent to their town development, and free platform for expressions. He mentioned that the center is
executively informing citizens on the emergency events and keeping in touch with the national police. Arif Bagirov, civic activist and blogger answered the questions on how the town lived before, during the occupation and after its liberation from militants.
On March 28-29, 2019 foreign reporters visited Mariupol State University, the President of which, Kostiantyn Balabanov, warmly welcomed us and told many success stories of this educational establishment. The guests could see an example of classic university development in a town not being regional center. Svitlana Beschetnikova, dean of Philology Faculty, also told the guests about international programs, learning foreign languages and opportunities for international students.
Next, our guests took part in the excursion with the tour-guide Olena Deinychenko, member of National Union of Ethnographers. We received an opportunity to learn the town history, its cultural heritage, industrial potential, and to enjoy the views over the Sea of Azov. The participants were also interested in the issues of regional ecology, close town location to the frontline, impact of Ukrainian ports’ blockade by the Russian side through suspension of ships in the Kerch Strait.
Afterwards, the reporters met Oleksandra Protsenko-Pichadzhy, Head of Federation of Greek Communities of Ukraine. The speaker told us about deportation of Greeks from the Crimean Peninsula at times of Ekaterina II, when those lands were included in the Russian Empire, and later in the 30s by order of J. Stalin. We discussed the issues of Greek villages, their development, at different
times of history, in particular after the proclamation of Independence of Ukraine. During the conversation the journalists learned about the international cooperation of communities with the Republic of Greece and Republic of Cyprus, educational programs, providing humanitarian aid to those Greek settlements situated either on the frontline, or on the occupied territories, opposing against the occupation military forces, etc.
On March 30, 2019 the group of foreign journalists had an excursion around Kyiv. They visited St. Sophia and St. Michael Square, St. Andrew Rampart, Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti), observed a lot of other historic and sightseeing places.
We are expecting that the trips made and the meetings conducted with the respected representatives of government, media, civil society, education, etc. gave an opportunity for foreign guests to achieve the key goal: receive a source of reliable information and learn the tendencies of development in Ukraine. We are sure, that after the end of press-tour the quality and number of reportages on Ukraine will increase.
The Academy of Ukrainian Press with the support of Media Development Foundation, Embassy of the USA to Ukraine, is involved in ultimately efficient and trustworthy informing of the foreign colleagues on events in Ukraine. Let you join us! The world has to know the truth and avoid fakes.