Regional Press Development Institute (RPDI)
The Regional Press Development Institute is a Ukrainian nonprofit organization, founded in 2006, whose mission is to promote democratic civil society through the development of professional, sustainable, and pluralistic media in Ukraine.
During 8.5 years of its activity, RPDI has successfully implemented about 60 media supporting projects financed by a diverse group of donors for about US$ 2.86 million. In 2010-2014, RPDI expanded its competences and increased the average annual budget up to US$ 400K, having cooperated with international donors and organizations that include: Internews Network (funded by USAID and Canadian DFATD), National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Renaissance Foundation (IRF), International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), Media Development Fund (MDF) at the US Embassy, and Alliances for Quality Education (Community Connections Program), National Democratic Institute for International Relations (USA, funded by the Swedish government), Media Legal Defense Initiative (UK), Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR, USA and UK), Danish international project SCOOP (managed by FUJ and IMS, funded by Danish then Norwegian MFA), the German Embassy, Polish partners Towarzystwo Demokratyczne Wschod and Common Europe Foundation (funded by International Solidarity Fund), Czech partners Transitions Online (funded by the Czech Foreign Ministry and Erste Foundation) and CEELI Institute (funded by the US Department of State), Swedish partner Fojo Media Institute (funded by Swedish Institute).
The main directives of RPDI are:
- To provide regular and demand-driven training and education for media professionals;
- To offer partnership opportunities and the exchange of information and experience between media professionals and other target groups of Ukraine and other countries through internships, study tours, and more;
- To provide legal education, consultancy and court defense to journalists and media in access to information, pre-publication screening, defamation cases, defense of sources etc.;
- To promote government transparency and access to information for citizens and media by annual monitoring and rating of official websites and providing recommendations;
- To maintain information resources (media research, manuals) for access by media staff;
- To support other initiatives promoting democratic civil society.
RPDI has become a leading Ukrainian NGO supporting investigative journalism in Ukraine and maintaining the network of committed investigative reporters. Since 2007 it has conducted numerous investigative journalism trainings: basic and advanced levels, and special topics (abuse in land issues, environment, public procurement) for more than 550 journalists and follow-up assistance to investigations, as well as six annual all-Ukrainian investigative journalism conferences in 2008-2014 attended by 50-150 Ukrainian reporters each. In October 2011, as a local partner it hosted the 7th Global Investigative Reporting Conference (GIJC) in Kiev, attended by 500 journalists from all over the world. Being a member of the Global Investigative Journalists Network, RPDI fundraised to send six Ukrainian investigative reporters to the 8th GIJC in Rio-de-Janeiro in 2013. RPDI also renders legal assistance to investigative reporters, publishes handbooks, conducts webinars, administers competitions and internships, monitors professional investigations online and collects databases. This activity was supported by USAID-funded programs, IRF, US Embassy. RPDI also closely cooperates with Danish SCOOP project that has been funding grants to Ukrainian investigative reporters and linking Ukrainian journalists with international investigative network, practitioners and relevant events since 2003. In 2014 RPDI launched Digital Journalism School for investigative reporters – a training series on data journalism, visualization and digital security. It also entered into Eye on Corruption international initiative managed by Swedish Fojo Media Institute. In 2015-2016 RPDI administers small grants to Ukrainian investigative reporters and the contests along with its Polish partner Wschod.
Having strong team of its media lawyers and maintaining the regional network of lawyers all over Ukraine, RPDI renders comprehensive legal support and media law education to journalists and media that helps journalists to stand for their rights more effectively, diminishes external pressures and self-censorship, and allows them producing more professional stories. RPDI has been delivering substantial legal assistance since 2009, limited to primarily investigative journalists or certain groups. In 2011 RPDI restored and reinforced regional media lawyers’ network which contributes to rendering legal services to media. During 2011-2014, with support from U-Media and the German Embassy, RPDI drastically increased its legal assistance to media having conducted numerous media law workshops and webinars for journalists and rendering regular substantive consultations, pre-publication screenings, procedural documents, and counsel in the courts. In 2014 RPDI published online handbooks on Ukrainian court practices in media area and effective tools for defending journalists’ rights and access to information. Initially with support from U-Media and MLDI, RPDI and the network lawyers started to render legal assistance in court cases for media and journalists, and since September 2012, with additional support from IRF, RPDI has established and administered the Fund for Strategic Litigation in the Free Speech and Media Areas. For the purposes of this Fund, RPDI also set up a representative Legal Defense Board to decide on financial support of major legal cases. RPDI conducts annual workshops for the network media lawyers to exchange recent experiences, and in 2015 along with CEELI Institute Ukrainian media lawyers were exposed to international practice at two workshops in Prague.
RPDI is also one of the leaders providing new convergent media training and expertise as well as other types of special training for journalists and media employees. Since 2008, RPDI has been working to satisfy demand in innovational technologies by conducting regular short term new media basics workshops and longer regular training cycles for editors and journalists (annually since 2010), onsite consultancy for selected media outlets on convergent newsroom development. It also satisfies advanced audiences by offering niche topics trainings (web-community building, usability, monetizing of digital media, social networks, visualization, mapping, data journalism etc.). RPDI adds new media technologies component to other topics of coverage. Many other projects are delivered with the aid of webinars, online streaming and other modern communication tools. RPDI also has experience in educating trainers, election coverage, coverage of EU integration issues, press offices training, and other fields.
With the support from NED in 2010-2013 and Czech Foreign Ministry in 2014, RPDI has been annually monitoring and rating 56 key governmental websites (Governmental portal, all ministries, state services, central executive bodies with special status, and other central authorities). The project is designed to increase governmental transparency through improving passive access to public information at governmental websites by media and public as well as foster state’s commitment to e-governance development. The comprehensive monitoring methodology has been fully adapted to Ukrainian law requirements from the Information Freedom Foundation, based in St. Petersburg, Russia. Detailed recommendations for each website monitored are made public and delivered to the authorities, with the national ranking of monitored websites published at the end of each year. In 2015, with support from the Czech MFA, the monitoring has been expanded to all national executive authorities, 50 local government authorities in all oblasts of Ukraine as well as up to 50 courts of higher level.
Promptly reacting on current challenges of 2014 RPDI administered IWPR’s series of training workshops for Ukrainian and Kyrgyz reporters on working in hostile environment, digital security, professional and ethical standards of covering military conflicts.
With support from the National Democratic Institute project on the role of women in politics funded by the Swedish Government, in 2014 RPDI held a series of gender-related training workshops and launched a campaign website against sexism in politics and media Povaha.org.ua.
RPDI has worked together with media-related NGOs in Poland, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Moldova on a number of joint projects. RPDI shares its Ukrainian media experience by hosting study tours, roundtables, and training workshops for groups of media professionals from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on various media and democracy topics. Since 2013 RPDI has been supporting Ukrainian version of Eastbook.eu within the joint project with Polish Common Europe Foundation.
RPDI website www.irrp.org.ua is an effective tool of communication with target audience and delivering project-based news to wider public and contains numerous training and informational resources for media and other professionals. RPDI maintains subscription list for more than 2000 subscribers, users could also follow RPDI’s activities in Tweeter and Facebook.
Tel./fax +38 044 279 4199, corporate cell: +38 067 5472233, +38 067 2344216
Office and postal address: Heorhiyvsky Provulok 7, office 408, 409, Kyiv, 01030, Ukraine