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The challenge of broadcasting trusted news on the invasion of Ukraine

17 March 2022
Image of News Exchange journalist reporting live from Kyiv

In war, information is everything. And serious disinformation can threaten lives. 

That’s why accurate, high-quality, truthful news, that has been verified and correctly sourced, is critical to people in Ukraine but also audiences globally who need to understand the ramifications of a conflict that may have personal economic, security and political consequences for everyone.

Sharing trusted news is the very core of the Eurovision News Exchange, it’s what we do. We know from the world’s most recent crises that audiences turn to public service media to get information they can rely on. It was – and is – crucial during the pandemic and in the context of deliberate distortion and disinformation, it is key. The number of News Exchange stories being broadcast is currently at its highest level ever. Up 181% on this time last year. Views of our content on social media has run into the billions since the invasion began 24 February.

But what goes into ensuring that information is for real? Our Members have a large presence on the ground in Ukraine, witnessing events first-hand and sharing their content with each other. And for the material appearing on social media, a key element has been our Eurovision Social Newswire team who verify content to make sure our Members can use those videos safely. Since the war began, they have corroborated more than 200 videos from Ukraine and other regions. 

Our support teams and camera crews are on the ground in Kyiv and Lviv providing logistical services to our Members and other broadcasters to make sure they get on air successfully, as well as providing live and recorded content at all hours of day and night. We’re providing live reporting in multiple languages for channels who don’t have someone on site. And we’re supporting our news colleagues at our Member, UA:PBC, the Ukrainian public broadcaster, providing a vital in-country link for the EBU. 

Liz Corbin is the EBU’s Deputy Director of Media and Head of News, “Supporting our Members to produce high quality and impartial news coverage at a time of international crisis is what the Eurovision News exists for. But still, the level of commitment the Members have shown each other through the sharing of content, knowledge and expertise has been phenomenal. This story has broken all records, showing that the value of Eurovision News to Member newsrooms is higher than ever.”

Public service media values are vested in collaboration and support. In that spirit, three of our Members – France Télévisions, Sweden’s SVT and the UK’s BBC - have exceptionally shared full news programmes to help those broadcasters who want to increase their coverage but don’t have the resources to report from multiple locations. Our German Member, Bayerischer Rundfunk, also outlines the importance of European collaboration in covering multiple breaking news stories at different sites overseas.

The sharing of vital information across all our Members, whether legal, logistical or operational, saves time and precious resources in a rapidly changing situation. A growing number of Members are integrating UA:PBC radio and video feeds into their online services to reach displaced citizens and Ukrainians living abroad. TVP were the first to take their signals and broadcast it, followed by RTVSLO in Slovenia and LRT in Lithuania. 

We don’t know how this war is going to end or what is going to happen. But we will continue our work helping the world’s media tell the truth about the invasion of Ukraine and to support our Member UA:PBC in reaching Ukrainian people. That is a given.  

Relevant links and documents


Jo Waters

Head of Content Communications