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LVIV MEDIA FORUM:on the lack of freedom in Crimea, public broadcast and non-oligarchic media

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On May 28-30, with the support of MYMEDIA,Lviv hosted the annual Lviv Media Forum. The speakers from the media and research centers of the world spoke on the same stage alongside the leading Ukrainian media experts.

MYMEDIA initiated two forum discussions. They were "Crimean non-freedom” and “How non-oligarchic media can appear in the post-Soviet countries". Also, it initiated the presentation “What will public broadcast look like in Ukraine”.

“Crimean non-freedom”

"Crimean Tatar media were forced to either leave Crimea or go underground. Those media that are written in Latin are now being blackmailed for not getting their licenses unless they switch to Cyrillic alphabet," says Osman Pashayev from "Hromadske.Crimea."

According to the international organization FreedomHouse, Crimea in 2014 became one of the five regions in the world that have the worst situation with freedom of speech

"FSB does not simply intimidate the journalists, but it searches their houses, calls the police and makes them leave Crimea this way,” says Osman.

It gets extremely difficult to receive the information and news from Crimea. "We cannot send our reporters there because the newsroom is unable to ensure their safety inCrimea," says SevgilMusayeva, chief editor of the online media "Ukrayinska Pravda”. According to her, if you look at “Ukrayinska Pravda” traffic, you can see that the audience’s interest on Crimea has decreased significantly.

"While traffic on ATO dropped, the people had forgotten about Crimea"

How non-oligarchic media can appear in the post-Soviet countries

The problem of oligarchic media exists not only in post-Soviet countries; it exists in Western Europe and the United States, although there, it is not as big, explains during the discussion JurgisVilchinkas of Press and Information Department of the EU:

"The problem in Ukraine is not with creating independent media because for this, it is enough to have smartphones and tablets. The problem is how to promote and advertise these media on the market"

He also suggests three options for solving the problem. First, we can make the current media non-oligarchic: “The workers there are professional and experienced journalists, but the newsroom policy simply does not meet the democratic standards." Second, we can use the potential of niche markets: "Most of them are still not filled with the quality media." Third, we can develop our own profitable business models and learn to survive without the help of foreign grants: "In Ukraine,you already have such media; and even if they have to put the oligarch on the cover, their content is of the European quality."

What will public broadcast look like in Ukraine?

"Our priority is the audience, not the profit; we aim for rich and diverse content, not the ratings,” emphasizesZurab Alasania, CEO of NTCU. He adds that everyone, regardless of whether they are watching "First" or not, is already paying for it from their tax money: “So let us pay for something that we really want to watch."

He presented the structure of the public broadcast. Zurab talked about current NTCU structure, how many millions are being spent on it, andmuch money the government gives. Once again, he reminded the journalists that the independence from politicians and oligarchs is very expensive, but it is pointless to expect any profits from it.

He also talked about the fate of regional TV-companies. They will not be closed, assures Alasania, but turned into the local production studios:

"It is necessary for every corner of the country to know about the life in another one”.  The broadcasts from the regions will be daily. Only then, we will finally erase the border between the capital and the provinces"

He also presented a plan to create a multimedia newsroom on the basis of "First" which was prepared by Ukrainian and Danish experts with the support of MYMEDIA. We have already published more details about that in a recent publication.

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On May 28-30, with the support of MYMEDIA,Lviv hosted the annual Lviv Media Forum. The speakers from the media and research centers of the world spoke on the same stage alongside the leading Ukrainian media experts.

MYMEDIA initiated two forum discussions. They were "Crimean non-freedom” and “How non-oligarchic media can appear in the post-Soviet countries". Also, it initiated the presentation “What will public broadcast look like in Ukraine”.

“Crimean non-freedom”

"Crimean Tatar media were forced to either leave Crimea or go underground. Those media that are written in Latin are now being blackmailed for not getting their licenses unless they switch to Cyrillic alphabet," says Osman Pashayev from "Hromadske.Crimea."

According to the international organization FreedomHouse, Crimea in 2014 became one of the five regions in the world that have the worst situation with freedom of speech

"FSB does not simply intimidate the journalists, but it searches their houses, calls the police and makes them leave Crimea this way,” says Osman.

It gets extremely difficult to receive the information and news from Crimea. "We cannot send our reporters there because the newsroom is unable to ensure their safety inCrimea," says SevgilMusayeva, chief editor of the online media "Ukrayinska Pravda”. According to her, if you look at “Ukrayinska Pravda” traffic, you can see that the audience’s interest on Crimea has decreased significantly.

"While traffic on ATO dropped, the people had forgotten about Crimea"

How non-oligarchic media can appear in the post-Soviet countries

The problem of oligarchic media exists not only in post-Soviet countries; it exists in Western Europe and the United States, although there, it is not as big, explains during the discussion JurgisVilchinkas of Press and Information Department of the EU:

"The problem in Ukraine is not with creating independent media because for this, it is enough to have smartphones and tablets. The problem is how to promote and advertise these media on the market"

He also suggests three options for solving the problem. First, we can make the current media non-oligarchic: “The workers there are professional and experienced journalists, but the newsroom policy simply does not meet the democratic standards." Second, we can use the potential of niche markets: "Most of them are still not filled with the quality media." Third, we can develop our own profitable business models and learn to survive without the help of foreign grants: "In Ukraine,you already have such media; and even if they have to put the oligarch on the cover, their content is of the European quality."

What will public broadcast look like in Ukraine?

"Our priority is the audience, not the profit; we aim for rich and diverse content, not the ratings,” emphasizesZurab Alasania, CEO of NTCU. He adds that everyone, regardless of whether they are watching "First" or not, is already paying for it from their tax money: “So let us pay for something that we really want to watch."

He presented the structure of the public broadcast. Zurab talked about current NTCU structure, how many millions are being spent on it, andmuch money the government gives. Once again, he reminded the journalists that the independence from politicians and oligarchs is very expensive, but it is pointless to expect any profits from it.

He also talked about the fate of regional TV-companies. They will not be closed, assures Alasania, but turned into the local production studios:

"It is necessary for every corner of the country to know about the life in another one”.  The broadcasts from the regions will be daily. Only then, we will finally erase the border between the capital and the provinces"

He also presented a plan to create a multimedia newsroom on the basis of "First" which was prepared by Ukrainian and Danish experts with the support of MYMEDIA. We have already published more details about that in a recent publication.

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