Ukraine: Journalists demand action and support from the government

Journalists in Ukraine are demanding action by government after a catastrophic fall in revenue has led to wage cuts, job losses and staff being forced to take unpaid leave. Media company debts have also spiralled.

Credit: National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU)

The shock figures were revealed in a survey carried out by the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU).

And now the union is demanding government action to support the media sector and declare journalists key workers to enable them to continue to work during the lockdown.

In the survey, 82% of companies reported a loss of revenue due to quarantine rules and the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. 9% of media have suspended all their activities. More than half have abandoned new projects.

Wage cuts have been imposed in 20% of workplaces and 6% have already cut jobs, with more expected to follow.

Volodymyr Danilûk, the chief editor of Volyn newspaper said that more media would close in May if support was not forthcoming. Media in Donbass, already suffering because of a lack of economic activity caused by the conflict in the region are on the verge of collapse.

Journalists in Ukraine are doing their best to keep citizens informed under new circumstances. Just 6% of staff are working in the office, while 23% of media are working entirely remotely.

NUJU has been demanding proper protections for journalists – gloves, masks and hand sanitisers and disinfectant and urging companies to ensure visits to media premises are limited and journalists can maintain social distancing rules.

It called on the government to support Ukrainian media to protect jobs and wages, uphold the right to information and to recognise journalists as key employees.

The survey was conducted between March 27 to April 6, 2020

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