Donbas Media Forum 2021

Donbas Media Forum-2021:
adapting to challenges and finding effective solutions

Rethinking new realities
Co- and Self-
how to form new professional basic knowledge and skills to counter propaganda and adhere journalistic standards
Co- and Self-
the role of the state and the media community in the formation of the media
New ethics:
how to cover conflicting and sensitive topics for society
New vocabulary:
how a tolerant media language is formed
Day 1
Day 2 (ONLINE)
Schedule #DMF2021
November 5, Friday
10:00 – 10:30
10:00 – 10:30
Opening of the 7th Donbas Media Forum
Welcome speech:
  • Daniel Langenkamp, US Embassy Press Attache;
  • Matti Maasikas, EU Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine;
  • Karin Rölke, Senior Programme Co-ordinator, Project Coordinator OSCE in Ukraine;
  • Oleksiy Matsuka, Founder of Donbas Media Forum;
  • Taras Shevchenko, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine;
  • Pavlo Kyrylenko, Head of Donetsk regional state administration - regional civil-military administration, Kramatorsk;
  • Serhey Hayday, Head of Luhansk regional state administration - regional civil-military administration, Sievierodonetsk;
  • Lyubov Rakovytsia, Chairperson of NGO Donetsk Institute of Information, Head of the Forum Organizing Committee.
10:40 – 11:40
10:40 – 11:40
Panel discussion on "Safety & Security of Investigative Journalists: New Threats"
Recently, there were attacks on investigative journalists by the authorities. The Skhemy television crew was attacked while recording an interview with Head of UkrEximBank; there was an attempt to prevent the screening of the Slidstvo.Info investigative film about the President's offshore companies. It's been a while since the last time Ukraine's media community has raised issues of the safety and security of journalists, unwarranted interference, censorship, etc. Are we back to the Dark Ages? What challenges are journalists and investigators facing? How to deal with these risks?
  • Anatoliy Kovalchuk, Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine;
  • Fedor Sydoruk, Skhemy program;
  • Anna Babinets, Slidstvo.Info agency.
  • Antonina Torbich, Project Director, Agency of Investigative Journalism "Fourth Estate", Rivne.

Moderated by Lyudmila Pankratova, Executive Director Regional Press Development Institute.
11:50 – 12:40
11:50 – 12:40
Panel discussion on "Media Regulation: How the State and the Media Community Share it?"
Is state intervention necessary to promote a diverse and pluralistic media environment? If government puts ban on media regulation, will it guarantee freedom of expression? Can self-regulation become the primary media governance mechanism? How to deal with fake press cards? Should this issue be regulated? How should the state enable the free and independent media as opposed to oligarchic media?
  • Taras Shevchenko, Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine;
  • Valentyn Koval, First Deputy Chairperson of the National Сouncil of Television and Radio Broadcasting;
  • Tatiana Lebedeva, Commission on Journalistic Ethics;
  • Antonina Cherevko, Head of Independent Media Council;
  • Svitlana Ostapa, Deputy Chief Editor of the Detector Media portal, Chair of Supervisory Board of PJSC National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine.

Moderated by Liana Khorovytska, a National Program Coordinator of the OSCE Project Coordinator in Ukraine.
12:50 – 14:20
12:50 – 14:20
Panel discussion on "The Elections that Did not Take Place: 18 Controlled Territorial Communities without Self-Government and Russia's Arranging Online Voting in the Occupied Territory"
In 2020, 10 territorial communities of Donetsk and 8 territorial communities of Luhansk didn't participate in Ukraine's local elections and didn't receive the right for local self-government. Also, on September 19, 2021, Russia held the parliamentary elections, the results of which Ukraine hasn't recognized. In particular, due to the fact that residents of the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions were given the opportunity to vote via the Internet. There are important events and election-related discussions all the time, especially regarding Donbas. And this context also should be explained to the audience somehow. How do the media understand and work with these topics? Is it reasonable for the media to take on an educational role and inform voters about the elections when the agenda is not super-relevant for the entire country? Is it enough to have the media cover the election cycle only at the level of general elections?
  • Yuriy Miroshnychenko, member of the Central Election Commission of Ukraine;
  • Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of Donetsk Regional State Administration;
  • Serhiy Haidai, head of Luhansk Regional State Administration;
  • Olga Aivazovska, chairperson of Civil Network OPORA;
  • Bogdan Karkachov, editor-in-chief of Novosti Donbassa, Kyiv;
  • Ann Nikolaenko, editor-in-chief ITRC IRTA, Sievierodonetsk.

Moderated by
Kateryna Zhemchuzhnykova, communication manager of Civil Network OPORA.
14:30 – 15:50
14:30 – 15:50
Panel discussion on "The Flip Side of Social Media: How Disinformation and Propaganda is Spread and How the Media Should Fight it"
Ukrainians use social media as one of the primary information sources. Each media outlet has accounts on multiple social media platforms, distributing its content, collecting information, and communicating with its audiences. At the same time there are thousands and millions of pages, accounts and channels that misinform and falsify. Are we fully aware of this challenge for the media? How can we fight propaganda and misinformation on social media?
  • Dmitro Teperik, ICDS Chief Executive, Programme Director Resilient Ukraine (Estonia);
  • Adam Sybera, Kremlin Watch analyst, European Values Center for Security Policy (Czech Republic);
  • Yaropolk Brynykh, a representative of the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative in Ukraine;
  • Vitalii Rybak, an analyst at Internews Ukraine;
  • Yevhenia Motorevska, editor-in-chief of Hromadske TV;
  • Roman Kulchynsky, editor-in-chief of

Moderated by
Oksana Romaniuk, director of the Institute of Mass Information.
16:00 – 17:20
16:00 – 17:20
Panel discussion on "Media Bill: Threats or Opportunities for the Industry"
Recently, the media have been actively discussing a new media bill on the verge of being adopted. The bill drafters claim that it will update media legislation, regulate social media, and take online resources out of the gray area. However, some industry representatives are convinced that the new bill threatens media freedoms and may introduce censorship on the Internet. Which vision is more true? Will the bill become a law? When?
  • Oleksandr Tkachenko, Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine;
  • Mykyta Poturayev, MP and Chair of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy;
  • Diana Dutsyk, Executive director Ukrainian Media and Communications Institute;
  • Oleksandr Burmagin, a lawyer with NGO Human Rights Platform;
  • Oleksiy Pogorelov, president of the Ukrainian Media Business Association.

Moderated by Andriy Romanenko, journalist and coordinator of the Center for Public Control ACT-Kramatorsk.
17:30 – 19:00
17:30 – 19:00
Panel discussion on "Exile Journalism: The Experience of Latin America, Belarus, and Ukraine"
Due to threats and harassment, pressure and a ban on working at homeland, journalists around the world are faced with a forced-choice: to stop working or to continue media activity in exile. After 2014, the editorial offices of the occupied districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and the Crimea found themselves in exile. And in 2020, we witnessed a new wave of refugee journalists from Belarus. Is journalism worth the effort in exile? What is its value? What professional, ethical, and practical issues do editorial offices in exile have to deal with? How to gain the trust of a new audience and not lose the main audience in the abandoned areas? And can the efforts of émigré journalists change the situation in the country and the world for the better? We learn the experience of media in the post-soviet countries and Latin America.
  • Pavlo Sverdlov, Chief Editor, Euroradio, Belarus (based in Warsaw, Poland);
  • Cindy Regidor, Confidencial, Nicaragua;
  • Aliaksei Dzikavitski, deputy director of Belsat TV, Belarus (based in Warsaw, Poland).

Moderated by Andriy Dikhtyarenko, editor-in-Chief of the News Service of UA:PBC (Public Broadcasting), editor-in-chief of the online media "Realnaya Gazeta", Chairperson of the NGO "Frontyr".
November 6, Saturday
10:00 – 11:00
10:00 – 11:00
Panel discussion on "How the Media Landscape of Eastern Ukraine has Changed in Recent Years"
In recent years, the media in eastern Ukraine has experienced several crises: Russia's armed aggression, economic decline and a significant drop in advertising spending, several election campaigns, and finally almost 2 years of the pandemic. How has the region's media landscape changed during this time? Are there any independent media and quality journalism left? How is the media surviving and building their revenue model?
  • Anna Romanenko, editor-in-chief of, Mariupol;
  • Olena Leptuga, editor-in-chief of Nakipilo Media Group, Kharkiv;
  • Oleksandra Yarlykova, Senior Editor of Vostochnyi Variant;
  • Andriy Romanenko, journalist and coordinator of the Center for Public Control ACT-Kramatorsk;
  • Tetiana Tiurina, Head of the Department of Information Activities and Public Communications of the Donetsk Regional State Administration, Kramatorsk;
  • Albina Kusheleva, Director of Public communications Department, Luhansk regional state administration - regional civil-military administration, Sievierodonetsk.

Moderated by
Olxeiy Matsuka, founder of the website Novosti Donbassa.
11:10 – 12:00
11:10 – 12:00
Talk "New Ethics: How to Inform Correctly and Gain the Trust of Your Audience"
What is "New Ethics" (feminitives, correct terminology, gender equality)? Why will "New Ethics" help gain the trust of your media audience? Case studies of violations of journalistic ethics examined on the example of CJE decisions. Discussion on how to create content according to the Guidelines for Gender and Conflict-Sensitive Reporting published with the support of the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine
  • Anastasia Bagalika, Hromadske Radio journalist, gender coordinator of the campaign against sexism in the media and politics "Respect" and the platform "Women are 50 percent of Ukraine's success";
  • Angelina Karyakina, general producer of Public Information Broadcasting;
  • Oleksandra Gorchynska, Novoe Vremya journalist.

Moderated by Elizaveta Kuzmenko, head of NGO Women in the Media and a member of the Commission on Journalism Ethics (CJE).
12:10 – 13:00
12:10 – 13:00
Panel discussion on "Strengthening Ukrainian Journalism: The View of the Eastern and Southern Regions on How Small Local Newsrooms are to Compete against the National Media?"
Amidst global competition, regional newsrooms, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, are experiencing lack of resources compared to national media. But they are competing against them for the attention and loyalty of their audiences. So how can small local newsrooms be competitive? New formats, citizen journalism, community mobilization? What can strengthen the regional media, and can they "outshine" the national media?
  • Anna Romanenko, editor-in-chief of the website, Mariupol;
  • Anna Serdyuk, editor-in-chief of Free Radio, Bakhmut;
  • Valerii Garmash, editor-in-chief of the website, Slavyansk;
  • Anna Nikolaenko, editor-in-chief of IRTA TV Channel, Sievierodonetsk;
  • Olena Leptuga, editor-in-chief of Nakipilo Media Group, Kharkiv.

Moderated by
Eugene Spirin, editor-in-chief of Babel.
13:10 – 14:00
13:10 – 14:00
Panel discussion on "Journalism VS. Communications: How to Tell Public Communication Campaigns from the Professional Responsibilities of a Journalist"
There is an assumption that once journalists start working in PR and communications, they will never return to journalism. Is it possible to do both? Is it ethical to do both? Are PR people lobbyists of someone else's agenda in the media or journalist's best friends? Where is the fine line between journalism and communications? We will look for answers together with the participants of the discussion.
  • Andriy Kulakov, Program Director of Internews Ukraine;
  • Dasha Zarivna, former editor-in-chief of L'Officiel Online, the founder of the networking platform Charitum, and the online magazine Vector, spokesperson of the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak;
  • Roman Vibranovsky, Head of the communication component of the DETS project: Donbass Economic Transformation Strategy;
  • Tetiana Tiurina, Head of the Department of Information Activities and Public Communications of the Donetsk Regional State Administration, Kramatorsk
  • Albina Kusheleva, Director of Public communications Department, Luhansk regional state administration - regional civil-military administration, Sievierodonetsk

Moderated by
Nina Mishchenko, director of Ecosystem Development SAGA Development, business journalist in retail and real estate, brand strategist, business consultant.
14:10 – 15:00
14:10 – 15:00
Non-Debate "Social Polarization/Media Polarization: How to Prevent it?"
The "non-debate" will take us to root causes of polarization. We'll discuss if society is divided, or is it the journalistic community hyping? What triggers and nourishes polarization? What does polarization lead to? How to understand that you are unable to hear the "Other"? How is polarization manifested in practice, and What are the tools of counteraction? Can the media prevent polarization in socially important topics?
  • Kateryna Sergatskova, journalist, co-founder of the website Zaborona;
  • Oksana Romaniuk, executive director of IMI:
  • Ivan Antypenko, journalist, media literacy trainer, Kherson.

Moderated by
Irina Eigelson, an independent facilitator.
15:10 – 16:00
15:10 – 16:00
Panel discussion on "Stability, Dignity, Tolerance: What Issues Have United Ukrainians from Luhansk to Lviv in the Last 30 Years? Research Results"
What values, passions, and behaviors do Ukrainians share from Luhansk to Lviv? In the controlled and uncontrolled territory? What separates them? What experiences promote cohesion? Why is Ukrainian democracy still vulnerable? What, after all, does independence mean for Ukrainians, and How can we create an information environment that strengthens it? What events in Ukraine's recent history resonate? What do inhabitants of uncontrolled territories really miss, and What does a return to normalcy mean? Over the past year, the Arena Program (director Peter Pomerantsev), Public Interest Journalism Lab, and Kharkiv Institute for Social Research have conducted focus groups with Ukrainians from various backgrounds across the country, even those living in the temporarily occupied territories. We have researched what people think about the most significant events of the last thirty years. We have asked about the 1990s and the revolutions of 2004 and 2014; popular culture and Soviet history; what people are proud of and what their expectations are. The study "From Independence to Interdependence: Ukraine is 30" oftentimes brought surprising findings. After all, Ukrainians are more united on the topics that, many believe, separate them. However, there are weaknesses that can be easily exploited and used for manipulation. Therefore, our study offers solutions for both the media and communications, in particular to those who work with the eastern regions of Ukraine. According to the format of the event, the authors will present the study, answer questions and have a brief conversation with the attendants.
Спікери та спікерки:
  • Peter Pomerantsev, Director of the Arena Program, SNF Agora Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins University, an author and TV producer;
  • Angelina Karyakina, an editor and co-founder of Public Interest Journalism Lab;
  • Denis Kobzin, Director of Kharkiv Institute for Social Research;
  • Oksana Lemishka, an associate researcher, Center for Sustainable Peace and Democratic Development;
  • Jaroslava Barbieri, a freelance consultant and PhD student at the University of Birmingham.

Moderated by Nataliya Gumenyuk, a journalist and co-founder of Public Interest Journalism Lab.
16:10 – 17:20
16:10 – 17:20
Panel discussion on "Who, How, and Do They Really Threaten Free Speech in Ukraine?"
How do we mark freedom of speech by what criteria? Are there serious threats to independent media in Ukraine? What does the pressure on such independent journalism mean? Can we talk about freedom of speech in a hybrid media market and oligarchic media, when most journalists are somehow limited by the political or business interests of the owner? Does pluralism of journalists' dependence on different owners contribute to freedom of speech and democracy? How and why does the public demand (expectation) for a politician to answer tough questions arise? Is there an institution of journalist's reputation in Ukraine, how does it evolve? How is the public demand for the political class to come and answer tough questions in the independent media, given that politicians are accustomed to warm baths on oligarchic channels and choose such channels for interviews?
  • Vadym Misky, member of the Supervisory Board of UA:PBC (Public Broadcasting), Secretary of the Council for Freedom of Speech under the President of Ukraine, Program Director of the NGO "Media Detector";
  • Natalia Ligachova, head of the NGO "Media Detector";
  • Larysa Voloshyna, journalist, TV host.

Moderated by Myroslava Barchuk, host of the talk show "Countdown" on Public Broadcasting.
17:30 – 19:00
17:30 – 19:00
Panel discussion on "Financial Model for Regional Media: How to Find Funding not Only to Survive, but Also to Develop"
What financial model should the regional media choose in order not only to survive but also to develop? Some almost entirely depend on donor funding as a safeguard against the influence of local oligarchs. Others try to create a community and engage the audience to make donations. Yet others dream of implementing their own business model and are looking for investors. Which model is more vital? Can they be combined? Is it possible to do real journalism and run it like a business?
  • Oleh Pastukhov, expert, US Embassy Media Development Fund;
  • Tetiana Stepykina, communications, program manager for East and South of Ukraine, Internews;
  • Olena Shchepak, co-founder NGO "Cherkasy news agency 18000", Cherkasy;
  • Natalia Pakhaichuk, Innovation project manager CID Media Group, Lutsk;
  • Valerii Garmash, editor-in-chief of the website, Slavyansk.

Moderated by Gaygysyz Geldiyev, partner in Jnomics media.
19:00 – 19:30
19:00 – 19:30
Closing of the 7th Donbas Media Forum
Olxeiy Matsuka, founder of Donbas Media Forum.
What is Donbas Media Forum?
Since 2015, after the forced relocation, journalists from Donetsk and Luhansk regions have been organizing an annual Forum for colleagues from the region, displaced journalists, as well as all media who work on Donbas. The Forum provides an opportunity to discuss the problems of the profession in the region, as well as to restore lost communications.
Will the 7-th Forum take place offline?
According to the latest recommendations of the Ministry of health of Ukraine, this year we plan to hold a mixed event, combining an offline meeting in Kyiv for a limited number of participants (only green vaccination certificate owners) and an online broadcast on YouTube.
Who will be the speakers?
Every year we invite journalists and editors of leading media in the region, in the country, in the world. The program of this year isn`t an exception. Therefore, thematic discussions at the Forum will be a great place and possiblity to exchange different opinions.
Organizers #DMF2021
Host: NGO "Donetsk institute of information"
Partners #DMF2021
Infopartners #DMF2021