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Ukraine: local journalists promoting social cohesion

From 11 to 14 September, a training course focusing on social cohesion brought together editors-in-chief from our 18 media partners in Ukraine. This workshop was organised in collaboration with our partner, the Ukrainian organisation IRMI (Institute for Regional Media and Information).

Fondation Hirondelle has been supporting 18 local media outlets since the start of the war in Ukraine. Spread across the east and south of the country, they receive a wide range of support. Firstly, financial support to enable them to survive. There is also editorial support to help them adapt to the production and broadcasting conditions that have changed as a result of the war, and enhanced support in managing their media organisations to ensure greater sustainability despite the volatile context.

"We believe that social cohesion […] is key for the future of Ukraine and Ukrainian society and we believe that local media and local journalists have a key role to play in terms of supporting social cohesion" – Nicolas Boissez, Director of Operations at Fondation Hirondelle.

The journalists taking part in the training course were able to work together to understand the issues involved in the reconstruction of the country. They drew up a map of community tensions, in which they identified several risks. The issues highlighted were the tracking down of supposed collaborators with the Russian occupiers, the growing antagonism between people who have now returned and those who stayed behind during the Russian occupation, problems of access to humanitarian aid, and the challenge of obtaining justice for victims at local level.

They also received training in digital editorial resources such as OSINT – providing access to reliable open-source data – and cyber security. The major challenge the editors face today is how to develop their journalistic practices in a context that is no longer new, but in which they must continue to interest audiences from whom they are often distant because of conflict and displacement. This is a key theme for them and they discussed best practice at a round table with several international correspondents in Ukraine, including a correspondent from the New York Times.

For more information, please watch the video.