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Reducing Ethnic Tensions in Crimea and Improving the Level of Investigative Journalism in Eastern and Southern Ukraine


People in Need, 2008

One of Ukraine’s specific problems is ethnic tension in Crimea. Neither the central government in Kiev, nor the representatives calling for Crimean autonomy have been able to solve this problem. Furthermore, political groups and the media have proven to be too partial to help resolve this conflict, creating one of the main obstacles to reducing ethnic tensions.  The purpose of this project is to inform journalists, local representatives and Crimean authorities about the danger of nationalism and extremism, as well as helping them learn more about the possibility of taking different approaches to minorities.

People in Need had several objectives in implementing this project:

1.     Contribute to the reduction of ethnic tension in Crimea by providing training to local media and authorities

The concept of setting up Crimean seminars was established with the help of two Ukrainian experts on Crimea’s ethnic conflicts. Altogether 5 seminars were realized between June and September 2008 - 2 for local authorities, 2 for members of the local media and 1 for teachers. About 70 people attended and successfully completed these seminars, which were led by 4 Czech and 3 Ukrainian experts. Participants acquired more knowledge about mechanisms for the prevention of ethnic conflicts, about the role of media and local government in this effort and about the power of multicultural education in schools. In October 2008, a group of Crimean journalists, who write about the ethnic tensions in Crimea, came to a study trip to Prague, where they met notable personalities of Czech and international journalism, such as Petra Procházková, Andrej Babickij and others.

2.     Improvement of investigative journalism in Eastern and Southern Ukraine

In August 2008, the NGO People in Need chose, according to results from a contest it organized earlier, 11 young Ukrainian journalists, who spent the next two months under the supervision of 5 experienced Ukrainian journalists that helped them in their research. Five of the most successful young journalists were invited to participate in a study trip to Prague, where they attended several workshops designed to improve their reporting skills. All of their final investigative reports were published in Ukrainian media and most of them were well received by Ukrainian society.

3.     Inform Czech society about situation in Crimea/ Ukraine and networking among Czech and Ukrainian experts

In April 2008, PIN held a public lecture in Prague, which was led by Ukrainian experts and focused ethnic tensions in Crimea. People in Need supported the publishing of a “White Paper” – a brochure about the violations against freedom of speech occurring in Crimea. Since this event, PIN has been regularly sending a monthly overview of the events in Ukrainian politics and civil society on more than 400 emails, especially to politicians, parliamentarians, senators and journalists.

Seminar on autonomy