On November 18 – 23, 2019, the Academy of Ukrainian Press (further AUP) had an honor to invite representatives of foreign media to participation in the project “Press Tours to Ukraine” which is realized due to the support of Media Development Foundation, the Embassy of the USA to Ukraine.
Top reporters from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Lithuania, Spain who work on different media platforms visited Kyiv, and several towns of Donetsk region controlled by Ukrainian government later on. All the series of press tours are aimed to demonstrate the real situation and events taking place in our state and in the eastern part of the country to foreign reporters; to introduce the perspective vision of national experts in different fields of development and opinion of society on various issues.
Participants of the 2nd press tour in November, 2019 became:
- August Modersohn, Die Zeit, Germany;
- Carlos Barragan, El Confidential, Spain;
- Georgi Angelov, trafficnews.bg, Bulgaria;
- Natalja Soboleva, Prospekt-Media UÜ, Estonia;
- Nikolas Zannettos, Alpha TV, Cyprus;
- Ronaldas Galinis, Vilnius LRT (Lithuanian Radio and Television), Lithuania;
- Tornike Koshkadze, News Agency “Interpressnews”, Georgia.
On November 19, 2019, tour participants visited Hromadske Radio, non-commercial and non-governmental news&talk radio station and Internet media platform. They spoke there to Iryna Kondratenko, producer. 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 general. The speaker told about the period of establishment in 2013, and broadcasting in the Donbas regions as a priority. According to the speaker, soon Hromadske may receive frequencies for broadcasting in Kyiv.
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 and occupational administration, newspaper privatization reform, etc. Participants received English language handouts with analytical data and findings on Journalists’ Physical Safety Index.
Then, the reporters met with Volodymyr Ariev, MP (European Solidarity Party), chairman of Ukrainian delegation in Parliament Assembly of Council of Europe, PACE Vice-President (2015), President of PACE Committee for Culture, Education, Science and Media. Mr. Ariev outlined general political situation in the country and Ukraine’s position on the international area. He also mentioned that current Ukrainian government should better defend the national interests of Ukraine on all levels.
On the same day, the participants spoke to Oleksii Illiashenko, vice-Minister on the European Integration, the Ministry of Veterans, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced People. Vice-Minister raised the issues of reintegration, aid to the victims of Russian aggression, and rehabilitation of veterans. Providing jobs, retraining and medical services are among priority goals of the Ministry. The speaker also paid attention to Ukrainian political captives detained on the territory of Russia or on the occupied territories, as well as the persons prosecuted by the Russian authorities. He emphasized on the need for truthful and reliable information based on original sources.
In the end of the day, the reporters had an interview with Raiisa Yevtushenko, senior expert, Department of Educational Content, Language Policy and National Minorities, Ministry of Education of Ukraine. The speaker told about actively implemented educational reform “New Ukrainian School” providing changes in the whole system of education, from material equipment to approval of new curricula.
“One of the New Ukrainian School main goal includes one’s competence development, not just giving knowledge, providing that students can improve their life and practical skills, for example, media literacy, civic competence or human rights”.
On November 20, 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 town liberation from separatists. We talked to the vice-principal, Myroslava Horuzha, on its history of occupation, restoration of buildings and psychological aid given to students who experienced military actions. Then we had an opportunity to observe the hospital buildings ruined by war.
After that, the group of reporters visited Donetsk State Regional Administration in town Kramatorsk, and spoke to its Head, Pavlo Kyrylenko. The governor outlined 3 priorities of regional development: water supply, repair of heavily damaged buildings; temporary housing for the IDPs. The last one is crucially important since the ¼ of IDPs who lost their homes moved to Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Much attention is paid to the movement facilitation through the checkpoints on the administrative lines, recovery of infrastructure, and humanitarian provisions of food, domestic products, clothes to civilians.
On November 21, 2019, while visiting Illich Iron and Steel Works of Mariupol, the participants listened to the safety regulations, put on special clothes, and entered steel-smelting workshops. Ihor Pogoretskyi, chief expert in internal communications, answered the questions of reporters. In particular, we discovered about iron and steel production and supply, energy saving and environmental safety. Sinter blast furnace workshop at Illich Iron and Steel Works of Mariupol is the largest one in Europe.
Then, foreign reporters visited Mariupol State University, the President of which, Kostiantyn Balabanov, warmly welcomed us and told many success stories of this educational establishment. He emphasized that university alumni are successfully opening businesses and start working in the leading EU structures. The guests could see an example of classic university development in a town not being regional center. Mr. Balabanov is also Honorary Consul of the Republic of Cyprus to Ukraine, and thus the reporters discovered about international relations with Greece and Cyprus.
Later on, we had an excursion around Mariupol Children’s Diagnostic Center under the guidance of Halyna Korovina, vice-chief medical officer. Pleasant looking interior design and modern equipment differentiates the Diagnostic Center from similar institutions funded by the state and local budget. A wide range of medical services, including psychologist and massage therapist, are free of charge for children.
In the end of the day, the group of journalists visited IT hub 1991 and digital library located in the same building. Maria Kutniakova, expert at 1991 Mariupol showed us the coworking, and told about educational programs for IT specialists and youth as well as technical and non-technical support for new startups.
So, we sincerely hope that foreign participants of the press tour achieved an access to reliable information sources about events and figured out some tendencies in the development of modern Ukraine. With this purpose, the meetings with top representatives of government, media, public sector, education, etc. were organized. We are expecting for more new journalistic materials about Ukraine.
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. Join us! The world has to know the truth and avoid fakes