Visiting the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine

On November 8th heads of delegations of Changes in Media Education and Political Dialogue Perspectives met with representatives of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine: Sergiy Tomilenko, chairman, and Lina Kushch, first secretary. The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) is an independent, non-governmental organization, a national all-Ukrainian creative union, bringing together professional creative workers: journalists and other media professionals. However it was found in 1959, Tomilenko emphasized that it has been reformed since the USSR. The NUJU is the biggest union of journalists in Ukraine, which exists as a chance of journalist’s selforganizing. Freedom of speech and assistance to journalists in media reforms are the priorities of the NUJU. The main topic was “aggression and physical attacks on journalists”. Cases of that happened 143 times in the last year.

An important part of the meeting was the agreement on cooperation. For example, NUJU can provide information about its work and Wolfgang Ressmann, one of the project’s organizers, said that he can provide direct ways for communication about physical safety with OSCE.  It was also said that NUJU’s Infocenter website can become the ground for young journalists to show themselves.  Tomilenko and Ressmann discussed the collaboration in sponsorship of Ukrainian initiatives.  Besides these questions one point of the personal meeting was a summer school for journalists, where 3-4 journalists from Ukraine can take part. It was proposed that the NUJU could help choosing of these participants.

This meeting was about building of strong connection between journalists’ community of Ukraine, German, Georgia and Germany. Every one of the attendants believes in the possibility of a future partnership between these countries in the field of media.

After this informal meeting the representatives had a round table. They discussed international standards in journalists’ work. Nowadays Ukraine is on the verge of elections, where journalists will play an important role. Unfortunately, the climate in Ukrainian media is not the best expression of democratic standards, so NUJU calls for a civilized debate on the establishment of reliable standards in this area.  So journalists will be guided by the already established principles during the election.

Ressmann pointed that in Germany there is strong public service broadcasting. It helped them to build a productive discussion with generally accepted standards. He also said that a bridge between education, work and free public broadcasting is the best way to secure journalists from danger. Mamuka Andguladze, representatives of the project, said that now there is no solution to complete media objectification because there are is freedom of expression in the internet and a lack of freedom of expression in mass media. Volodymyr Danyluk, one of the project’s organizers, added that standards should be shaped both for the country in times of peace and for the country during a political and armed conflict.
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