Score: 61.19 // Status: Problematic

79 – Ukraine

Ukraine's media landscape is diverse, but remains partly in the hands of oligarchs, who control most national TV networks. The sector is suffering from the strong impact of Russian aggression, starting in February 2022, which destabilized the work of newsrooms, even threatening their survival. In Russian-controlled territories – Crimea, annexed in 2014, Donbass and the areas occupied by the Russian Army in 2022 – the Ukrainian press is silenced and often replaced by Kremlin propaganda.

Even before the military confrontation, the "information war" with Russia maintained a destructive climate in Ukraine: banning press considered pro-Kremlin by presidential decree, restricting access to Russian social networks... This has intensified since the invasion led by Moscow. The press broadcasting Russian propaganda was blocked, while the Russian army deliberately targeted journalists, media outlets and telecommunications infrastructure to prevent the Ukrainian population from accessing independent information.

Since the “Revolution of Dignity” in 2014, the country has been adopting a series of laws on press transparency, access to information and protection of journalists. The creation of the independent public broadcaster Suspilne, in 2017, was the most emblematic of these reforms. The approval, at the end of 2022, of a new press law, after years of preparation, aims to harmonize it with European legislation. The application of martial law sometimes results in restrictions on the reporting work of journalists.

The Russian invasion weakened the economy and caused the media to suffer a significant loss of subscribers and advertisers. Added to other consequences of the war, such as destruction, the collapse of supply chains and the forced exile of employees, this situation threatens the survival of a large number of Ukrainian media outlets. Several hundred of them have already had to close, others have reduced activities and placed their employees on temporary unpaid leave. The local press continues to be the most fragile in the face of these challenges.

The war drastically changed the work of journalists and the topics they covered. The Russian attacks taking place throughout the territory have turned everyone into war reporters. The Ukrainian press, however, continues to cover social issues and play its fundamental role in exposing corruption among the country's elites.

Gender inequality in the press is still a problem, especially when it comes to seeking the opinion of experts on certain subjects – a situation that worsened after the Russian invasion.