Swiss-Ukrainian media forum: reducing the influence of oligarchs on the media market and the importance of freedom of speech – discussion with Taras Shevchenko

On June 6, Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy Taras Shevchenko participated in an online panel discussion as part of the Swiss-Ukrainian media forum “Independent media as a crucial pillar of democracy: How can media strengthen democracy during wartime?”.

During his speech, Taras Shevchenko stated that according to the organization “Reporters Without Borders”, Ukraine has improved its global ranking in terms of freedom of speech. This achievement holds special significance considering the country’s ongoing war and the highest number of journalist casualties recorded in Ukraine in 2022. The progress made by Ukraine in this rating was achieved through several factors. One of them is the reduction of influence by Ukrainian oligarchs in the media market. Additionally, there has been the adaptation and implementation of Ukrainian legislation to align with European standards, particularly in relation to audiovisual media.

Speaking about guarantees of freedom of speech, Taras Shevchenko emphasized: “We have powerful media organizations and independent media. I am sure that Ukraine will always remain a democracy with guaranteed freedom of speech.”

The co-organizers addressed the participants of the media forum: Gaetan Vannay from the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, Mykyta Poturaev, Chairman of the Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy, Aliona Dolya from Ukrainian Parliamentary Institute, and Stefanie Bosshard from the Swiss Democracy Foundation.

Thus, Stefani Bosshard, a representative of the Swiss Democracy Foundation, emphasized the symbolism of holding this media forum on Journalist’s Day, which is celebrated on June 6 in Ukraine. Therefore, this day presents a great opportunity to draw attention to the media during this critically important time for democracy. After all, the media itself is the foundation of a democratic society and serves an incredibly vital social function. Particularly in periods when democracy is under threat, the role of media becomes even more significant.

The discussion also involved the following participants: Alex Kühni, a Swiss press photographer – 2023, Mykola Chernotytskyi, UA: PBC, Veronika DeVore, SWI swissinfo.ch, Sevgil Musaeva, “Ukrainska Pravda”, Oleksandra Panova, Internews Ukraine.

The discussion was moderated by Bruno Kaufmann from the Swiss Democracy Foundation in Switzerland and Igor Rozkladai from CEDEM in Ukraine.

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