Initiatives like Eastbook – successful alternative to counterpropaganda “from above” – project authors


An online source for young Eastern Europeans aims at counter-acting information warfare.

Kyiv, April 26, 2016. Eastbook Portal is an online portal for publishing works by young authors from Eastern Europe and to share information about what is happening in their countries. “We provide information about what, in our opinion, is the most important in Europe – grassroots youth social initiatives. We write about NGOs, support and popularize their activities, about self- government initiatives and startups. We also popularize trips to Europe and acquaintance with other countries,” said Pawel Charkiewicz, founder of Eastbook project, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. The main partners and sponsors of the portal are Visegrad Fund and Polish-German Cooperation Foundation.

The project started in 2010 on the initiative of students of Oriental Studies at Warsaw University, from which originated the first part of its name. The second was borrowed from Facebook – to focus on the fact that the portal is not only a journal, but also a platform for information exchange. Now about 100 authors write for the portal, 25 of them – on a regular basis. “At first a dozen authors and volunteers worked here, but now to encourage authors and improve the product quality, we are able to pay for the publication,” said Mr. Charkiewicz. Eastbook audience has exceeded 800 thousand readers. Articles are published in four languages ​​- Polish, Russian, English and Ukrainian. “The language creates a channel of information and overcomes borders. So we pay attention to the fact that all materials should be published in Russian, as the majority of our audience is Russian-speaking readers,” noted Mr. Charkiewicz.

Everybody can become author at the portal – young journalists and students, unprofessional journalists and bloggers. Any person can join the team through the feedback page. Then the team will help you to gradually increase your professionalism – particularly through training as part of the “Academy of Solidarity” project. “If it’s a good article, almost everything can be published,” promises Maciej Zaniewicz, deputy editor in chief of Eastbook in Polish.

Eastbook is one of examples of how to counteract the information warfare. “Because the same mechanisms are used, all the initiatives organized from above will inevitably look like counterpropaganda. That is why initiatives sucg as Eastbook are good solutions to this information impasse. Everyone who is in a place where something happens can inform about what he sees,” emphasized Mr. Zaniewicz. He also wrote about what he saw in the spring of 2014 in eastern Ukraine. Then he regularly conducted the Russian press reviews, so that readers could have an idea of the Russian media space and how it influences its audience thinking.