The international community has urged that all Ukrainians be given access to objective information.
On May 25th, Ukrainians will go to the polls to elect a new President. Given the turbulent situation within the country, the international community has expressed its support for these elections and urged that all Ukrainians be given access to objective information in deciding whom to support and then be allowed to exercise their unrestricted right to vote.
Russia’s intense propaganda campaign aims to delegitimize the upcoming elections, flooding Ukraine and the near abroad countries with disinformation through state-supported Russian media.
Russian-backed pro-separatist groups in eastern Ukraine have been accused of detaining journalists and knocking down television towers of Ukrainian-language stations. Since last November, more than 500 journalists have been harassed, beaten or abducted, and at least one journalist was killed.
Media outlets have been attacked and news-gathering equipment has been seized or destroyed. According to the Committee To Protect Journalists, at least one journalist has been beaten and accused of “incorrect” coverage of the events, while thugs armed with clubs forced several television stations to replace their Ukrainian-language broadcasts with programs generated by Russian stations.
The United States cannot replace all the Ukrainian media outlets that have been silenced, but we can support a number of activities aimed at voter education, civic participation, and a transparent and democratic election process in Ukraine.
Thus, we have committed $1.25 million to Ukraine’s U-Media program, a project of Internews and its Ukrainian partner organizations. The money will go toward webinars on media rights and responsibilities, as well as regional training seminars on journalistic legal and professional standards during an election. Also included will be physical and digital security training for journalists.
Funding will be provided to 1st Ukrainian Channel and a local foundation, so they can produce and broadcast debates between the presidential candidates.
And some of the money will go toward forming a cross-regional network of 45 journalists, editors and bloggers to increase information available to citizens about political reforms, economic and social issues, and the presidential election itself.
The United States supports respect for universal values around the world, and is committed to increasing awareness, creating strong legal foundations for independent media and civil society, improving government responsiveness to constituents and supporting platforms for free and open communications.