Positive Narratives About Ukraine Are an Effective Response to Russian Disinformation – Experts

Positive narratives about Ukraine are an effective response to Russian disinformation. The experts claimed this during a discussion within the #UkraineExplained project at the Press Center of Ukraine Crisis Media Center. The event was dedicated to discussing the challenges and opportunities the Ukrainian authorities and civil society face in developing a truthful, fact-based positive communication about Ukraine. According to the speakers, such communication strengthens society’s immunity to disinformation based on myths and negative narratives.

“Our goal is to counter Russian disinformation with positive narratives. But we should take an interest in the purpose of a potential consumer of such information. Materials that contain positive information about Ukraine should be of practical use and appeal to the sense of social solidarity. We need to find ways to enchant the audience so that it wants to learn more about Ukraine,” said Alya Shandra, Editor-in-Chief of Euromaidan Press.

The participants of the event emphasized that the peculiarity of developing and promoting positive narratives about Ukraine is that it is done in the context of the Ukrainian-Russian war. This poses the question of how to present true negative information about events in Ukraine.

“We should not turn a blind eye to negative things that are relevant to Ukraine, but we approach problematic issues from the other side. For example, we talk about the war in Ukraine through the prism of successful veterans initiatives. At the same time, it is important to appeal to our own stories that can resonate with others,” explained Iryna Matviishyn, Project Coordinator at Internews Ukraine and author of the video storytelling projects Stories from Ukraine and Values ​​through Stories at Internews Ukraine and UkraineWorld.

The experts stressed that promoting positive narratives about Ukraine is a complex and difficult work that will last long, or even always. It requires both vertical and horizontal interaction of all stakeholders.

“Raising awareness should be a priority of our joint work. Positive narrativization which is based on awareness and media literacy has a positive effect. It helps to distinguish right from wrong and to see the world as objectively as possible,” said Alla Radniuk, Project Coordinator at StopFake.

“Positive narrativization should be based on facts, it requires synergy between the state and civil society, consistency, knowledge of the target audience, and proactivity,” added Oleksandra Tsekhanovska, Head of UCMC’s Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group.

The participants of the event said that the most effective topics that can be promoted abroad as those forming positive impressions about Ukraine are art, culture, music, and literature. The local audience will respond to the success stories of Ukrainians, especially in the regions.