Visiting the Parliament’s newspaper: Holos Ukrayiny

On November 7th representatives of the project Changes in Media Education and Political Dialogue Perspectives had a meeting with representatives of Holos Ukrayiny, Ukraine’s parliament’s daily newspaper. The guests were welcomed by Vitali Ivanovich, deputy chief editor and Oleksandr Klymenko, photojournalist of the newspaper.

Firstly, Vitali Ivanovich made a little historical excursion about newspaper’s evolution. The first issue of Holos Ukrayiny was published in 1991 and had a circulation of 39.000. One year later the number has already risen to 89.000. This is a really good achievement for the newspaper that shows the life of the parliament. A small part of Holos Ukrayiny’s work happens abroad.
Secondly, Ivanovich put emphasis on what had been done when the political conflict in Ukraine arose – starting from Euromaidan. The editors understood that they need to work differently and figure out the way to cover the events, as their newspaper would be read by whole Ukraine: from ordinary citizens to military volunteers. The solution Holos Ukrayiny found was to publish a specialized copy of the newspaper every Wednesday which would contain all the information related to the political conflict: Euromaidan, the war in the East, the situation in the Crimea.

A very important part of the conversation was the speech of Oleksandr Klymenko, photojournalist, who was in Volhynia, Donbas and, in 1996, in Nagorno-Karabakh. He introduced his work to delegators by showing a video clip of his photo arts. Oleksandr Klymenko also shared his experience, which he gained on a conference in Estonia. The main idea of this conference was that journalists, even if they if it is an emotional topic for them, need to leave his/her emotions beside and be as much objective, independent as it is possible.

The speakers also raised the topic about freedom of speech, propaganda in mass media and Hybrid War in general. They compared the situation with democracy of media in Ukraine and Russia. In Russia the influence of the regime is so high that even huge sums of money are invested in propaganda. This is why it is very skillfully inflicting destructive blows on the Ukrainian media. On the contrary, the Ukrainian authorities still retain partial democracy, otherwise TV channels such as “NewsOne” and “112” would be simultaneously destroyed, as it has been done in Russia.  The fact is that citizens have appealed to parliament asking them not to show these channels because of their pro-Russian propaganda (according to the latest data, “112” belongs to Putin’s sibling). On the one hand, this cannot be done, on the other – this is will of many citizens – and in it is the whole complexity. So the main problem is that sometimes democracy grounds work against democracy.

The most important task for Ukrainian media now is to understand how to use European democratic principles against the background of the conflict situation in Ukraine and in the conditions of continuous Russian propaganda.

“Our meeting is a contribution to peaceful coexistence with Europe and the civilized world in the mass media area”, Vitali Ivanovich concluded.

At the end of the event, representatives of Holos Ukrayiny and the project’s delegates discussed other important issues in an informal atmosphere over a cup of coffee.
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