Ukraine’s Troubled Media: Prospects for the Country’s Democratic Future

Ukraine’s media market is ostensibly rich, diverse and free from overt state censorship, but it is dominated by financial and political interest groups, which use the major mass media to support their particular interests or the interests of pro-government forces. Economically struggling independent outlets are particularly susceptible to pressure during the ongoing economic crisis and in pre-election periods. The lack of transparent tenders, emergence of broadcast monopolies, and harassment of journalists and independent news outlets, as well as prevalence of ‘sponsored’ articles and entire private media outlets, are symptomatic of the sector’s shortcomings. As Ukraine moves toward presidential elections in 2015, the media is still a long way from providing good quality objective, balanced and varied information to help voters make an informed choice. Panelists discussed the state of the media, lessons learned from the media’s role in and coverage of the October 2012 parliamentary elections, and challenges faced in the run up to the crucial presidential elections.


Kateryna Myasnykova

Independent Association of Broadcasters

Mykhailo Minakov

Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Josh Machleder


Tatyana Lebedeva

Independent Association of Broadcasters

Moderated by:

Nadia Diuk

National Endowment for Democracy

Thursday, April 4, 2013

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

About the panelists:

Kateryna Myasnykova has served as executive director of the Independent Association of Broadcasters since 2003. An expert at the Eastern European Institute for Media Problems and a steering committee member of the Global Forum for Media Development, Myasnykova has worked in the media sphere since 2001. She is a member of the public council of the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting, Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Information, and its expert council on media activity during elections. Myasnykova is co-author of the book Legislative Issues of TV and Radio Broadcasting, as well as other publications on media issues.

Mykhailo Minakov is a Fulbright visiting scholar at Harvard University and an associate professor at the National University of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, where he also earned his undergraduate, Master’s, Candidate’s and Doctoral degrees. He is president of the Foundation for Good Politics, secretary of the Kant Society in Ukraine, and author of three books and approximately 60 articles on philosophy, political analysis, culture and epistemology. Minakov has combined his academic pursuits with analytical and program positions at the Soros Foundation, Eurasia Foundation, Pinchuk Foundation and UNDP.

Josh Machleder is Internews’ vice president for Europe and Eurasia Programs and the Global Human Rights Project. Previously, Machleder had 12 years of experience in international development in the media field, including five years working for Internews as a country director and regional manager in Central Asia, and two years in Southeast Asia. He has held positions at the Open Society Institute and IREX, was an Alfa Fellow in Moscow in 2005-06, and worked in television and radio production in New York City. Machleder holds BA and MA degrees from Columbia University.

Tetyana Lebedeva is honorary head of the Independent Association of Broadcasters, which she helped to found in 2001 and where she served as executive director from 2003. Lebedeva has worked in the media sphere since 1995. From 2003-10, she was a member of the National Council on TV and Radio Broadcasting, which is elected by the Parliament. Lebedeva began her media career as deputy chief at the private television company “Dnipro” in Dnipropetrovsk. From 1997-2001, she was the main producer at the television channel “Dnipropetrovsk TV Service”.

About the moderator:

Nadia Diuk serves as Vice President of Programs for Europe, Eurasia, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Prior to this appointment, she supervised NED’s programs, including those supporting independent media, in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. She has published often on Ukraine and is a frequent commentator on Ukraine’s Channel 5 TV. She holds a BA in History from the University of Sussex, and MPhil Russian and East European Studies and DPhil in Modern History from St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford.