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TV broadcasting in the occupied territory of Donbas: the actual situation and challenges. Part 1

TV broadcasting in the occupied territory of Donbas: the actual situation and challenges. Part 1

The Russian aggression in Donbas has set many challenges for Ukraine in the areas where this state has never engaged in, and where it had no experience. One of them is informational aggression which object the Ukraine's population, especially in Donbas, has become.

According to various estimates, the population of the occupied part of the Donetsk region is about 2 to 2.3 million people. As it is evidenced by the results of sociological research conducted by GfK's Ukraine for UCBI / USAID in November-December 2015, 88% of the inhabitants of the region watch TV. The Internet has been playing second fiddle for the inhabitants of Donetsk region: it is used by 51%.

The occupation of certain areas of the Donetsk region affects the media sphere. A distorted information is fed in the occupied territories by the media controlled by militants. There is pressure on journalists until their expulsion from the territory. The work of many Ukrainian sites was blocked.

TV channels controlled by "DPR" also broadcast on the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. It is difficult to determine the quantity of the population that has access to these channels. However, if we take into account the population of individual cities where these channels broadcast such as Toretsk (about 30 thousand people) or Krasnoarmeysk (about 70 thousand people), then it is a question of at least hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens.

Problematic is the fact that in the second year of the Russian aggression broadcasting of Ukrainian TV channels in the occupied territory has not been restored yet. Restoration of broadcasting needs creation of a new material and technical basis of Donetsk Regional State Television and radio broadcasting company. However, there is lack of government funding what is the main obstacle.

The restoration of broadcasting is a political move. Private television channels do not have the advertising market in the occupied territories, so it is not possible to restore broadcasting at their own expense, and some civic initiatives do not have the necessary resources for this. Thus, the restoration of Ukrainian broadcasting in the occupation is a prerogative of the state.

However, there is a possibility that even the recovery of broadcasting will not involve inhabitants of the occupied regions of Donetsk region into the Ukrainian information space. This may be due to the fact that restoration of broadcasting itself does not guarantee that the inhabitants of the occupied areas will have the technical capabilities to watch Ukrainian television channels, or want to watch them given the almost complete lack of specialized content addressed to them and that would be of interest to them .

We need a comprehensive approach to this issue. Now the Internet is an available tool which does not require large expenditures of resources for information activities in these areas. Public authorities, the Ukrainian mass media and state institutions should focus specifically on distribution of their content via the Internet.

Please follow the link to read the 2nd part of the story:

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