At the crossroads
Ukraine has a diversified media landscape and its authorities have adopted a number of long-awaited reforms since the 2014 revolution, including a law on media ownership transparency. However, these gains are fragile, as the new independent public broadcaster’s under-financing has shown. Much more is needed to loosen the oligarchs’ tight grip on the media, encourage editorial independence and combat impunity for crimes of violence against journalists. “Information warfare” with Russia has had negative consequences that include bans on Russian media and social media, the blacklisting of foreign journalists and treason trials.
The change of government and the hopes raised by Volodymyr Zelensky’s election as president have not as yet reduced the threats and attacks against journalists. The victims include Vadym Komarov, an investigative reporter who was fatally injured when attacked and beaten in May 2019 in the centre of Cherkasy, 180 km southeast of Kiev. Concern continues to focus on access to information, news manipulation, violations of the confidentiality of sources, cyber-attacks, and excesses in the fight against fake news (including a proposed anti-disinformation law that would threaten press freedom). The separatist-controlled east of the country is still a no-go area without critical journalists or foreign observers.
102 in 2019
32.46 in 2019