Ukrainian Media Discuss Their Role in the Implementation of Resolution 1325 and Formulate a Media and Communication Strategy

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Kyiv, Ukraine – December 7 & 8, 2017

By Kelly Yzique Zea

“The Ukrainian society needs to be aware of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women and Peace and Security.  I have been working as a journalist for 15 years but this is the first time I have heard of this resolution. It is now my responsibility and those who attended the Media and 1325 workshop to inform our audiences about the importance of this resolution,” said Antonina Tarasowa from Bukovyna News, a daily/weekly newspaper in Ukraine.

Prompted by the low level of awareness of the women, peace and security resolutions and Ukraine’s National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 among the general public and some government sectors, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) and the Democracy Development Center (DDC) – Ukraine in collaboration with the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine facilitated a workshop on UNSCR 1325, 1820 and its supporting resolutions with Ukrainian journalists on December 7-8, 2018 in Kiev. The organization of the workshop in Ukraine and similar workshops in Armenia, Georgia and Moldova are supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA). The workshops are part of a bigger project that provides support in the development and implementation of National Action Plans (NAP) on UNSCR 1325 as well as their localization.

The Media and 1325 workshop raised awareness and knowledge of Ukraine’s NAP on UNSCR 1325 and the resolutions broadly. One key output was a media and communication strategy by the media that spells out the long-term plan in popularizing the resolution; stimulating discussions on gender equality, peace and security issues; and sharing information toward effective implementation.

During the workshop, the participants analyzed the content of local and national newspapers, particularly on how they portray women. They also discussed how national and international media cover the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the factors that influence such portrayal and coverage. The participants highlighted that in most of the major print publications in Ukraine, women are portrayed as sex objects and incapable of taking decision-making positions.  In the coverage of conflict, women are portrayed only as victims. The work of Ukrainian women activists who promote peace and conflict prevention rarely gets into the media. As for the international media, the coverage of conflict in eastern Ukraine increases when Russia is involved or when there is a new move from Russia or increased warfare.  The participants also noted that there are no women on the editorial boards of Ukrainian newspapers.  The role of social media in information dissemination and generating support for NAP implementation among the general public was likewise discussed by the participants.

Representatives from the Ministry of Social Policy, the coordinating agency for the NAP; as well as UN Women also participated at the workshop. GNWP’s CEO Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, Ella Lamakh, Executive Director of DDC, and Dulcie Leimbach, a former editor at The New York Times and editor of PassBlue, an independent, women-led online publication, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, that covers the United Nations, particularly women’s issues, human rights, peacekeeping and Mykola Bilous, Deputy Minister of the State Committee of Radio and Television Issues emphasized the importance of training journalists and media practitioners on gender policies and the NAP. He underlined the commitment of the Ministry of the State Committee of Radio and Television Issues to cooperate in training for the media on these policies. Dmytro Semenuk, from Persha Miska Hazeta, Kropynytsky, a radio program, reinforced this view: “Gender equality is a prerequisite for peace and if we advance gender equality we can make peacebuilding possible.”

GNWP and DDC with the support of ADA will co-facilitate Localization and NAP workshops in 2018 as part of the continuing efforts to effectively implement UNSCR 1325 and the supporting resolutions.