Kyiv Post is one of MYMEDIA's closest partners. Once you hear the sharp, honest analysis of the media situation in Ukraine by the Kyiv Post editor Brian Bonner, you understand why.
1. Media is still owned by oligarchs. After Euro Maidan people talked about the new Ukraine, where everything is bright, cheery, non-corrupt. Everything that the old Ukraine wasn't. But actually when you look at media ownership, the same oligarchs - Achmetov, Kolomoisky, Poroshenko - still own most of the media. When the media analysts analyze the content, they can tell it by the content, that the owners still interfere editorial policy.
2. There are independent voices, but they don't have much audience. Everybody can be a journalist or have their own blog, but reaching the audience and getting the influence is a different thing. We have a lot of them on the horizon, and some of them grew up because of the revolution: Hromadske.tv, Espresso.tv, Slidstvo.info, Nashi Groshi, UA:Pershyi, Radio Liberty.
3. You can be only as independent, as your financial ability. By large the problem goes back to advertising and the economy - the advertising market is poor. And the oligarchs will spend what it takes, because their priority is keeping this influence that owning a big media outlet has for them. To be independent, journalism has to be able to make money. So that it doesn't have to depend on the oligarchs or grants, but can sustain itself through the market.
Take Hromadske.tv. Ok, they've done some good and independent journalism, but who is watching them? The viewership of Hromadske.tv and of 1+1 or Inter is a vast difference.
4. Independence means a media where the owner does not dictate editorial policy. Neither publisher, nor owner nor the commercial side. The journalist must make a final decision of what the news is, how it's played and whether it's fair.
5. Big media allow only 2-3 parties to be heard, said OSCE in their statement during these elections.They also mentioned interference in editorial policy and paid for coverage.
6. Ministry of Information is a cause for concern. Every time the Ministry of Information sets up some policy, there's a misstep right from the beginning. Like banning some international journalists from Ukraine, including BBC journalists. It didn't look good.
7. Government has to play role, but only to set up rules for independent media. It should allow freedom of speech and guarantee protection of journalists. There's a place for true public TV station, which we're still waiting for. But by large government can play a role by being itself more transparent and responsive.
8. Investigative journalists have to face no prosecutions. We should expose what we're doing without any legal follow-ups.
9. Democracy hasn't institutionalized in Ukraine, but we are making progress. It's not a black-and-white situation – there are some independent voices and investigative journalists. Now we have the highest degree of independence. It's definitely better than Kuchma era. Yuschenko era was pretty free, but Yanukovich brought us back to repressions.