Press Freedom in Ukraine: Incredible Shrinking Media Space?

October 22, 2010 12:00 pm - October 01, 2010 02:00 pm

Press Freedom in Ukraine: Incredible Shrinking Media Space? from CIMA on Vimeo.


Myroslava Gongadze
Voice of America

Oksana Maydan
Internews Network

Denis Gursky
Television Industry Committee

Moderated by:

Nadia Diuk
National Endowment for Democracy

In 2004, the Orange Revolution signaled the rise of a powerful civic movement against a corrupt, Kremlin-backed system. Viktor Yanukovych, then-candidate of the authoritarian regime and opponent of the Orange forces, is now president of Ukraine. While publicly stating its commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, privately, Yanukovych’s government is quickly reversing hard-won press freedoms. In a recent report, Reporters Without Borders criticized the serious erosion of broadcast media pluralism, warning of a disturbing increase in political pressure, censorship, and attacks on journalists. Several dissenting television stations have had their licenses revoked, and the pro-government Inter Media organization has become increasingly prominent. And with the recent disappearance and suspected murder of newspaper editor Vasyl Klymentyev, a well-known critic of the authorities, media and human rights monitors are warning of continuing, significant deteriorations in press freedom. Do these trends signal a wider, systematic crackdown against the media? And what do these events mean in an environment where, even after the Orange Revolution, media were not fully independent from oligarchic control or cash-for-coverage journalism? The panel examined these questions and discussed growing international unease over the direction of press freedom in Ukraine.


Myroslava Gongadze is a journalist and television anchor for the Voice of America’s Ukrainian service. She has won numerous awards for her accomplishments as a journalist, including her reporting on the eve of the 2004 Orange Revolution, and as a champion of democracy and independent media. The widow of slain investigative reporter Heorhiy Gongadze, she fled Ukraine in 2001, and has labored tirelessly to bring her husband’s case to justice. She won a landmark negligence ruling against the Ukrainian government from the European Court of Human Rights in November 2005.

Oksana Maydan is the Deputy Chief of Party for Internews Network in Ukraine. Prior to joining Internews, Maydan served as project manager at the Foundation for Effective Governance (FEG) where she helped produce a series of high-level public debates on economic and business development in Ukraine. There, she was also in charge of the Foundation’s communication policies and worked closely with FEG’s international advisory board. Between 2004 and 2008, she managed the USAID-funded Ukraine Reform Education Program, coordinating a nation-wide public awareness campaign in ten priority economic and social sectors. Maydan also managed the Advising Center at the American Councils for International Education (ACCELS) from 2003-2004, and headed the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) office in Ukraine from 1999-2003. She earned her doctorate in Ukrainian philology at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in 1996.

Denis Gursky is a new media and digital technology expert. As the digital committee coordinator for the Television Industry Committee (TIC)-the leading broadcast industry association in Ukraine-Gursky heads digital switchover and lobbying projects that link the television industry, government, and international institutions. Prior to that, he was involved in public relations, entertainment, and sound production, and headed the press department for Eurovision in 2008. His new media background started in 2006, when he helped organize the first Ukrainian blogcamp. Since then, he has conducted trainings and spoken at conferences across Europe on new media technology. Gursky also consults for Ukrainian media companies and media development non-governmental organizations, and is a founder of a new media expert council called “Media Marketing Mom.” Gursky has a master’s degree in International Economics from the Kyiv National Economic University.

Nadia Diuk serves as vice president of programs for Europe and Eurasia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). For over twenty years prior to her appointment as vice president, she supervised NED programs and strategies in what was then known as Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, and, later, as Eurasia. Prior to her appointment at the NED she taught Soviet Politics and Russian History at Oxford University; was a research associate at the Society for Central Asian Studies in England; and editor-in-chief of the London-based Soviet Nationality Survey. Diuk is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She earned her master’s degree in Russian and East European Studies and her doctorate in Modern History from St. Antony’s College at the University of Oxford.