June 9-11, 2016 Donbass media forum took place in Mariupol. It was attended by journalists from all over Ukraine. This congress also received the workers of a pen, who work on the LNR and DNR territory.
Mariupol was not chosen by chance. Many people associate Donbass with Donetsk, but there is no opportunity to gather there at the moment. So, Mariupol turned out to be the closest city, ready to accept guests. Let me remind you, that last year the DMF was held in Kiev.
June 10, Mariupol State University opened its doors hospitably, inviting guests to its cozy walls. A spacious assembly hall, which is situated in the building of the Faculty of History, was given for the forum.
The purpose of Donbass Media Forum is the formation of tolerant media space in the Donbas and in Ukraine with further rejection of the language of hostility. Donbass Media Forum is a platform for dialogue of regional and international media, cultural initiatives and public organizations for the development of civil society and strengthening of independent journalism principles in the region.
Three panel discussions were held during the forum. They dwelled upon such topics, as “Information aggression. Combatting disinformation”, “Local MM survival on liberated territories”, “Journalists in crisis regions. Overcoming the language of hostility”. On the stage there were six speakers who revealed their vision of the issue, and then answered questions from the audience. In one of such discussions I could take part. I had the honor to translate the report of a journalist from Serbia Dejan Anastasievich. Being a correspondent during the military conflict in the former Yugoslavia, he knows not by hearsay how difficult it is to stay honest and unbiased journalist, when the war concerns his own country. In his speech, he appealed to Ukrainian journalists not to become propagandists and report the facts truthfully and impartially. Of course, this is not easy, because by choosing this path, life of Dejan and his family was in danger twice.
This forum brought together not so many foreign visitors as last year, because it took place not in the capital. Many of them, to my surprise and delight, beautifully spoke Russian and Ukrainian. For the rest foreigners, simultaneous interpreters were working hard for two days.
After the panel discussions, participants could attend nine master-classes, which were held in different classrooms. There were some questions raised regarding disinformation, journalists’ investigations, journalism standards, conflictology.
At the end of the forum a resolution was adopted, the full text of which can be found at http://donbassmediaforum.blogspot.lt
The organizers took a great care of the participants’ leisure. Most of them were settled on the Azov Sea shore in the village Yurevka. On the day of arrival, a tour around Mariupol was organized. At the end of the first day of the forum, during the festive dinner, Mariupol Municipal Chamber Orchestra “Renaissance” was playing classical music. During the coffee breaks everyone could have a cup of excellent coffee with a variety of refreshments. In general, journalists not only did their job, but also had a good rest.
Valery Shevchenko, Mariupol