Kyiv, September 28, 2015. “The General Staff tasked us with reforming the press services of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We have to reform them and create a unified system providing a consistently high-quality service to external and internal audiences as well as our international partners,” said Ruslan Kavatsiuk, counsel of the Chief of the General Staff of Ukraine at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center (UCMC). Reformation of the press service of the Armed Forces of Ukraine focuses on three priorities: renewing communications structure at the Armed Forces following the model of NATO member states, management of top-priority projects (attraction of donor funds) as well as professional cooperation with communications specialists.
Creation and approval of the communications strategy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will support coordination and unity of action of all the Armed Forces structures responsible for communication, as well as printed media reform, for instance, the ‘Narodna Armiya’ newspaper which will address the information deficit of troops at the frontline. “Our task at the first stage was concentrating on three key directions: first – increasing the openness of the Armed Forces towards media; second – creating a number of projects to honor ATO heroes; and third – launching local reforms of the system of public communications of the Armed Forces,” said Kavatsiuk. Training of speakers able to represent the Armed Forces became a priority. Representatives of the Armed Forces went on air 260 times in five months. Large interviews were organized for Novoye Vremya, Ukrainska Pravda, Dzerkalo Nedeli, CNN, Wall Street Journal, Le Monde and The Independent. Vilyen Pidgornyy, communications curator of security chiefs of One Voice Policy group at the President’s Administration said that a joint project of the Ministry of Defence, General Staff and UCMC entitled ‘embedded journalism’ was launched at the end of last year. “The main purpose of the project was to provide foreign journalists as well as national mass media with a chance to go to the ATO zone and stay at military bases at the frontline or in the area of military troops’ location,” he said.
Oksana Havryliuk, head of the Department of Communications and Mass Media of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, said that next month the Ministry of Defence, jointly with OSCE Projects Coordination Office in Ukraine, is planning to organize training for about 100 Ukrainian journalists to work in the conflict zone with involvement of foreign experts. The training also envisages case analysis regarding when videotape footage may inadvertently reveal confidential information.