Management and the Supervisory Board present their report and audited financial statements of Regional Press Development Institute (“RPDI” or the “Organization”) for the year ended 31 December 2018.
Principal activities and nature of operations of the Organization
The principal activities of the Organization, which are unchanged from last year, are strengthening, development and enhancement of the free media in Ukraine.
In 2018, RPDI main areas of concern were as follows:
- regular and demand-driven training and education for media professionals;
- legal support to journalists and media primarily in areas of prepublication screening, defamation cases and access to information;
- regular support to investigative journalists;
- partnership opportunities, and sharing of best practices and experience between media outlets in Ukraine and other countries through internships, study tours;
- maintenance of information resources, such as media research and manuals, for access by media professionals;
- promotion of transparency and facilitated access to information;
- improvement and promotion of unbiased media coverage of topics of public significance.
In 2018 RPDI worked with:
- Young, inexperienced journalists, who are mostly engaged in various investigations, from all over Ukraine;
- Students who are studying journalism;
- Experienced journalists, who mostly deal with various investigations, from all over Ukraine;
- Journalists covering gender issues;
- Editors and producers of state and municipal media;
- Civil activists;
- Regional and Kyiv lawyers working with the media and journalists at different levels
- Society in general, through on-line resources: https://povaha.org.ua/, https://50vidsotkiv.org.ua/, https://www.facebook.com/behindtheukrainenews.
Throughout 2018, RPDI has kept its position as a leader in training, developing and supporting networks of investigative reporters and one of the leaders in providing special trainings for journalists and media employees. All programs run by RPDI are designed to address journalists’ immediate needs and fill in their professional gaps.
During 2018, RPDI launched new direction in activities – Media literacy. Also in 2018, RPDI realized one of its strategic goal – cooperation with National High-Education Schools & Universities.. In particular, with National University of T.Shevchenko, where RPDI team members conducted 5 academic courses.
Throughout 2018, we also successfully implemented projects kicked off in 2017:
- Three-year project on Strengthening of investigative journalism at regional and local level (signed with EU Anti-corruption Initiative (EUACI) supported by the EU-Commission and co-founded and implemented by Danida, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs). During 2018, within the scope of EUACI, RPDI held 15 trainings (equals to 42 training days) for 187 participants, selected out of 1030 applications, announced two calls for the anti-corruption investigative story ideas, over 20 applications have been supported and over 15 stories produced. In total, in 2018 RPDI supported production of 210 investigative stories both in print (online) and video formats.
- Two-year project within the scope of the Matra Program in respect of the project Organizational Capacity Development for Centers of Investigative Journalism in Ukraine supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. In 2018, within the scope of the project, RPDI provided methodological and legal consultations as well as templates of various internal documents, such as internal orders, policies, procedures, budget & reporting forms, developed four (4) tip sheets were developed by the experts, designed by graphic designers, hosted 6 trainings/webinars.
- Two-year contract as part of the continuation of the project Improving Media Coverage for Women’s Leaders, National Democratic Institute. Within the scope of project, RPDI launched and still running a campaign website against sexism in politics, media and everyday life – Povaha.org.ua. In 2017, we also added to our portfolio social portal “Women are 50% of Ukraine’s success”, which is aimed at enhancing and supporting women in public and political life, balancing the representation of women and men on key positions for the acceleration of a truly European model of society”.
- One and half year project “Increasing Transparency and Countering Corruption in Ukraine”, Internews Network. Main goal of RPDI within the scope of the project was to watchdog the e-declarations process to make sure that Ukraine’s public officials report accurately, and where they don’t, that they are brought to the attention of the prosecuting authorities. Implementation activities in 2018 included filing over 120 claims to the anti-corruption authorities regarding the non-compliances found in the declarations, preparation of 5 amendments to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses and the Criminal Code of Ukraine to strengthen the fight against corruption, provision of 98 consultations to journalists and activists, hosting of 6 webinars about e-Declarations and the relevant laws and regulations
Projects kicked off in 2018
- Disinformation in the Informational Space of Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia implemented by Polish NGO Organization Democratic Society East Foundation together with regional partners in Armenia – Analytical Center on Globalization and Regional Cooperation (ACGRC), Georgia – Caucasus Center for Journalists (CCFJ) and Ukraine – RPDI, supported by Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs within Democracy Support Program. Project was aimed at strengthening the mechanisms of cooperation between expert and journalistic circles, improving journalistic skills in the field of qualitative verification of content and information. Besides participation in international events, Ukrainian journalists published 27 materials on disinformation.
- Re:start democratic disclose in partnership with Europian Center for Press and Media Freedom , supported by Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Federal Administration Office. Project was aimed at boosting the understanding the role of disinformation in harming the development of society; intensifying the efforts of the media and the audience to counter the threat exposed by production, distribution as well as unintelligible consumption of disinformation of any kind; establishing an open dialogue between the media and users, aimed at increasing and restoring confidence in media. Besides trainings for regional journalists and bloggers on journalism standards and open lectures on media literacy, RPDI also runs all Ukrainian campaign “Behind the news (То той бік новин)” against disinformation of any kind – https://www.facebook.com/behindtheukrainenews/ within the scope of the project. Campaign exposes deliberate/undeliberate unprofessional behavior of media thus influencing the decision of journalists/media about reporting/not reporting information under question; teaches media literacy skills thus influencing habits of consumption of media and demand for quality journalism; developes critical thinking thus influencing unthinking distribution of disinformation (e.g. sharing of news in social networks).
- N-vestigate, initiated by German NGO – N-ost and supported by Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Federal Administration Office. This project is in fact continuation of partnership between N-ost and RPDI since 2015. During 2018, RPDI has achieved following project results: produced one (1) transborder investigations – Ukraine – Moldova by Valeriya Yegoshina, Schemes (Kyiv) and Vladimir Thorik, RISE Moldova (Kishinev).This investigation caused significant resonance in both countries; built unique international communication and cooperation network have been built, which will remain viable after the end of the project; helped journalists-participants to develop new skills for collecting, analyzing and reporting information (including digital security and visualization) and working in international teams; hosted work-shop on IT security, lead by international expert – Roberto Gomez; hosted 5 webinars with international experts.
- Legal support within the scope of Ukraine Media Project, administered by Internews Network, supported by USAID. Results of our legal team worked supported by U-Media program: total number of pre-publication screenings done – 24, 12 stories changed. Main achievement of the RPDI in implementation of the project was significant reduction of the risk of legal liability and consequences for media organizations and journalists involved in the project due to pre-broadcast vetting of investigative stories. Over the course of the project, RPDI legal team also provided legal protection of journalists in courts – 4 court cases that involve journalists working for Slidstvo.Info project. By the end of the project, 1 case was closed, 3 – are still active by the end of the project. Lawyers participated in over 20 court hearings and investigation procedures.
Having a strong team of its media lawyers and maintaining the regional network of lawyers all over Ukraine, RPDI renders a 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.
Besides mentioned above pre-publication screenings, legal support includes oral and written consultations, compilation of procedural documents and information requests, assistance in court cases, filing requests to the authorities following the results of investigations to ensure reaction of the power to revealed violations and legislation activity. Court cases and procedural documents primarily relate to defamation lawsuits with substantial damage claims; appealing of denies in access to public information; other violations of journalism rights including attacks, counteracting photo/video recording in public places.
In 2018, RPDI legal work was supported by U-Media program (Internews Network) and mentioned above EU Anti-corruption Initiative (EUACI), within the scope of which RPDI has provided 20 prepublication screenings, 13 legal consultations (protected journalists in courts.
All-Ukrainian Conference of Investigative Journalists
10th All-Ukrainian Conference of Investigative Journalists was held on December 7-09. In 2018, the conference was a record for all indicators (even when compared to 2017): number and geography of participants, number of sessions and duration of the event, as well as media coverage. Conference in 2018 was supported by number of donors & organizations.
- 27 trainings, with a total duration of 86 days, were held, attended by 287 participants.
- 10 webinars were attended by 233 participants.
- 160 times Ukrainian media outlets have received legal assistance from RPDI. Of these: 95 consultations on materials on electronic declaring of officials, 55 publications, 46 consultations on other topics (access to information, obstruction of journalistic activity, court support).
- 45 publications on counteracting misinformation, counterfeiting and manipulation were published in 30 media in 11 regions of Ukraine – as part of two media literacy projects.
- 126 journalistic investigations have been published with the assistance of the Investigative Journalism Development Project (supported by EUACI).
- 3343 declarations of their income were provided to officials at the request of the IRRI lawyers (work on the claim started as early as 2017).
- 133 allegations of irregularities in the declaration procedure were submitted by the IRRI lawyers to law enforcement agencies.
- 46 grants were awarded to representatives of Ukrainian NGOs participating in the Independent Investigation Team Development Project, which is being implemented by the IRRI, with the support of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Ukraine.
- 277 participants and speakers from Ukraine and 19 other countries attended Conference of Investigative Journalists, for the first time held for 3 days. (Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, United Kingdom, Armenia, Georgia, Denmark, Kazakhstan, Canada, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Poland, Russia, USA, Czech Republic, Sweden). It is 35% more than last year (there were 206 participants). 67 speakers and moderators spoke at the conference. 7 500 views were collected by live broadcasts of 11 sections and feedback from participants on the RSS Feeds page. Video records of all sections will be available to registered members of the RPDI Resource Center for investigative journalists. 121 000 social network users (Facebook, Instagram, Telegram) reached by conference messages through RPDI accounts (announcements, coverage during and after the event). We 416 applications for participation in the conference in 2018. This is 58% more than last year.
- 3 million Facebook users have reached the reach of the online Beyond the News media literacy campaign from July to December 2018. 4126 users began following the “Beyond News” page, where we were exposed to loud fakes and manipulations.
- 10167 Facebook users followed the Facebook page of Povaha Campaign (+2234 during 2018), while the “Women is 50% of Ukraine’s Success” audience on Facebook grew by 1249 users. Reaching Reach’s audience in the 4th quarter of 2018 was close to 400,000, “Women are 50 percent of Ukraine’s success” – about 200,000 users.
- 4700 Facebook users followed the news on the IRRP Facebook page, more than 1000 joined the IRRP Friends group, 335 followers gathered on Instagram (@ irrp.org.ua) and 225 on the irrpinfo Telegram.