European Broadcasting Union President Delphine Ernotte Cunci and Director General Noel Curran were in Ukraine this week to show their support to the EBU’s Ukrainian Member UA:PBC.
Since the beginning of the war last year, the EBU and public service media across the continent have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with UA:PBC to ensure it can continue to inform and reach the people of Ukraine both at home and abroad.
For example, EBU Members have been providing vital equipment, sharing content, supporting refugees and organizing fund-raising events.
UA:PBC’s role as a public broadcaster now goes well beyond providing trusted, objective news and information – it’s saving lives as well.
EBU President and France Télévisions CEO Delphine Ernotte Cunci said: “Access to trusted news and information in times of war can mean the difference between life and death.
“Public service media thus play a central role in alerting the public and addressing fake news and foreign interference. In a new form of ‘information warfare’, they are instrumental in serving citizens.
“We are proud and humbled to see and hear more about the work of UA:PBC and their journalists and staff who have taken incredible risks to provide a lifeline for all those caught in the crossfire of this terrible war.”
While in Ukraine, Delphine and Noel visited UA:PBC’s NewsHouse in Kyiv as well as meeting with UA:PBC’s managing board and staff at their offices in Chernihiv. They also met with the Minister of Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko.
Director General Noel Curran said: “It was a privilege to be able to personally thank the employees of UA:PBC for the role they have played in keeping the broadcaster on-air.
“The bravery of their staff and of the many journalists and crews on the ground, both from UA:PBC and across our membership, means that we will never be blind to the realities of this horrific war.”
The Eurovision News Exchange service has so far shared over 13,000 items on Ukraine from public service newsrooms across the continent, and it led a four-month investigation into the missing children of Ukraine that made headlines worldwide. By donating vital equipment such as generators, starlink terminals and satellite phones, our Members have also ensured that UA:PBC can continue to reach people with potentially life-saving news and information.
However, the role of the public service broadcaster stretches beyond the news, they must also provide moments of comfort and relief for citizens traumatized by war.
EBU Members have been showing their support by sharing TV and audio content with UA:PBC. This week, for example, France Télévisions announced that it would provide a range of animations and educational programmes to help entertain the younger generation.
The visit to Ukraine was organized by UA:PBC at the kind invitation of the Chair of the Board Mykola Chernotytskyi. He said: "Suspilne Ukraine is part of the European Broadcasting Union family, whose support we have felt since the first days of the full-scale invasion: from providing information for Ukrainians abroad, countering Russian disinformation and disseminating Suspilne news, to providing equipment for our employees to work even during the military operations and blackouts.
“Now we have the opportunity for co-productions provided by law, we hope to expand our cooperation in content production.
“We are united by the same journalistic standards and share the same values. We are proud to be part of the EBU family. We appreciate and thank you for being with us in difficult times, and we know that we will be together after the victory."
Chair of the Supervisory Board of UA:PBC Svitlana Ostapa thanked EBU management and added:
"A great war has been going on in Ukraine for two years. Suspilne Ukraine has faced unprecedented challenges. The company had to evacuate, rescue people, and work in difficult conditions. Our regional correspondents were reporting from the besieged cities. Almost half of our employees were on downtime, but we did not stop making news.
“We produced a number of high-quality documentaries and journalist investigations, recorded concerts at the Sound - Recording House. And this despite the fact that we have been allocated just 30% of the funding provided by law for 2023."
Public service broadcasters have been demonstrating solidarity in many other ways from arranging fund-raising initiatives to producing content for Ukrainian refugees and organizing musical events. Next month, the Eurovision Song Contest will also be hosted by the BBC, in the United Kingdom, on behalf of last year's winner Ukraine.