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Contribution of information broadcasting of ukraine to the process of reintegration of donbas
Contribution of information broadcasting of Ukraine to the process of
reintegration of Donbas
Donetsk Institute of information
From the first days as President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky stated that it was
necessary to form a proactive position in the area of information policy regarding certain
areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (hereinafter - CADLR) and the Crimea . One of the1
possible tools for achieving this goal should be a new TV channel for non-controlled and
annexed territories, which will be based on the platform of broadcasting in a foreign
This channel began broadcasting in test mode in March this year. The program
broadcasting network of the channel is still being formed, but the authorities involved in
its creation have already informed that most of the airtime will be devoted to entertaining
content provided by large Ukrainian private media groups .3
It is planned to broadcast sports events, including football matches with the teams which
before the war were based in the cities of the Donbas captured by the Russian Federation
in 2014. Popular and well-known TV presenters will be involved in broadcasting.
“This channel will have the most premium content available in Ukraine. These are serials,
talk shows, and entertaining shows, for example, football matches, various sports
broadcasts, etc.” said Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Kirill
At the moment, the major part of the broadcasting time will not be devoted to political
news. Sociological studies indicate that there is a shortage of positive news from the
territory under control . In this situation, requirements to news content are increasing.4
A wide range of entertainment material should attract as many viewers as possible, and the
news should be used carefully and dosed to convey as briefly and meaningfully as possible
information about events in Ukraine and in the CADLR to citizens living in the
uncontrolled territory. That would inform the people and disprove the Russian
Zelensky said how he would build relations with Russia https://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2019/10/30/7230472/
Presentation of the concept of a new TV channel for the temporarily occupied territories
Entertainment “house” without politics: a new TV channel for Donbass and Crimea
What is the life like in the temporarily uncontrolled territories of the Donbas? Features of horizontal communication of
the inhabitants of the divided region.
At the same time, it is advisable not to engage in direct controversy or polemics with
individual media persons or “official” sources, but to insert the necessary counter-theses
into presented video content. For this, it is important to understand the main points of
local propaganda broadcast on local and Russian television.
The purpose of this study is to identify and demonstrate, with the help of the analysis of
the above-mentioned mass media, the mechanisms of formation and transformation of the
CADLR ideologies as tools for manipulating public consciousness through the mass media.
Information policy of DII TV channels
On the territory of the Donetsk region, which is controlled by “the DNR” group, there are 5
regional TV channels: "Oplot", "Oplot 2", "Novorossiya", "First Republican" and "Union"
(the information of March 1, 2020).
Among them, "Oplot" is positioned as an informational channel , and "Oplot 2" as an5
exclusively entertaining one . The rest of the “DNR” grouping’s TV channels have an6
information and entertainment concept of broadcasting. Thus, “the DNR” has a complex of
media, covering the audience of all genres of television.
The monitoring of some information programs of “the DNR” (First Republican,
Novorossiya and Union) channels conducted by the analytical department of the NGO
Donetsk Institute of Information during the period from September 2 to October 31, 2019
shows that these media are used by “the DNR" in order to shape the political mood of the
population in the occupied territories.
In order to identify the main points of local propaganda, the think tank of the Donetsk
Institute of Information studied programs of public and political orientation aired on local
television during September — October 2019, and a total of 41 videos were analyzed.
The main critical theses on the political and economic situation in Ukraine can be grouped
into several main groups:
Oplot TV https://telekanal-oplot.tv/oplot-tv/
Oplot-2 TV https://telekanal-oplot.tv/oplot-2/
Thesis from CADLRs’ media DII’s counter-theses
The Ukrainian authorities do not want
The Ukrainian authorities emphasize that
there is only the peaceful way of resolving
the conflict and use all possible
international platforms for this purpose
Ukraine is under external control
Ukraine receives international financial
and technical assistance from more
powerful allies, but is independent in
making its own political decisions
Ukraine is run by nationalists and
Nationalist political parties did not enter
the Parliament in the last election and have
always been an absolute minority7
There is no legal authority in Ukraine;
oligarchs run the country
The Ukrainian authorities have
consistently pursued the policy of reducing
the influence of oligarchs on the political
sphere (privatization, reforms of the
management of state-owned companies)
Ukraine is a failed state For the 6th year, Ukraine has effectively
restrained the political, economic and
military pressure of one of the world
powers — the Russian Federation. A failed
state would not be able to cope with this
The Russian Federation is not a party to
the conflict; peace requires direct talks
with the militants
The Russian Federation has an absolute
and decisive influence on the militants, it is
internationally recognized that certain
areas of the Donbas are under effective
control of the Russian Federation8
The Ukrainian military are aggressive
towards the residents of the Donbas
According to sociological surveys, the level
of trust in the Armed Forces of Ukraine is
increasing among the residents of the
2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election https://www.cvk.gov.ua/pls/vnd2019/wp300pt001f01=919.html
State of emergency: proportionality issues concerning derogations under Article 15 of the European Convention on
Human Rights http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-en.asp?fileid=24680&lang=en
In the Donbass, trust in the army and the president began to increase
People who left the uncontrolled territory
and criticize the CADLR authorities are not
Any safe public criticism of self-proclaimed
authorities is possible only outside the
territory of the CADLR
Features of the new TV channel
The monitoring group conducted expert surveys of journalists and media managers on the
features of the activities of the new Home TV channel. Some of the respondents
highlighted the entertaining concept of the new TV channel.
In the absence of a real political competition and discussion in the uncontrolled territory,
there is a demand for political shows and public policy. This is indirectly indicated by the
relatively high popularity of some purely Ukrainian news channels, such as NewsONE , in10
the uncontrolled territories.
According to experts, in the uncontrolled territory there may be a real demand for
discussions with the participation of Ukrainian top politicians, discussions which have
elements of post-conflict analysis. There is also a demand for the ways to search missing
and killed people, and more. There is a demand to explain the ways of interaction with
Ukrainian state structures, to explain how to enter universities in the controlled territory
and to obtain administrative services.
The analysis of the election results in the regions of Ukraine bordering on Russian showed
that Russian television has an impact on Ukrainian voters with pro-Russian views and can
effectively stimulate support for certain political parties.
At the same time, these TV channels have an opposite influence on Ukrainian citizens who
are not loyal to Russia. These channels make citizens develop a biased opinion about
Ukrainian political forces — partners of the Russian Federation .11
This gives rise to the hypothesis that there is a reverse tendency - it is equally difficult to
influence a person with a position loyal to Russia with the help of propaganda.
At present, there are no accurate and reliable sociological surveys on public opinion in
uncontrolled territories as any sociological surveys are difficult to conduct under the
military authoritarian regime: it is not possible to conduct open polls and expect complete
openness on the part of respondents.
However, it can be argued that part of the population, which is under the absolute
influence of Russian and local propaganda media to one extent or another, supports
certain theses of the Russian authorities. In particular, the need to give autonomy to some
areas of the Donbas, or even the need for their direct integration into Russia .12
How do the residents of the non-government controlled areas (NGCA) of Donbas subsist?
Electoral Effects of Biased Media: Russian Television in Ukraine
Most residents of Donbass consider unrecognized "DNR" and "LPR" part of Ukraine
In such circumstances, it is advisable to use journalism standards and maximize
ideological neutrality while effectively promoting the position of the Ukrainian authorities
and society with respect to this issue in order to effectively influence public opinion and
encourage support for the process of regaining control of the Ukrainian authorities. This
surprisingly difficult task requires editorial attention and care on the part of journalists
when working with sources.
Recommendations for the production of media content for the CADLR:
1. Contextual denial of misinformation without direct controversy with the CADLR
administrations and their media representatives.
2. Gradual inclusion of public political discussion programs with elements aimed at
overcoming the conflict in the public broadcasting network for the CADLR.
3. The inclusion of investigative journalism concerning the life of the CADLR
administration "leaders" in the broadcast of state television for the CADLR.