Four Newsrooms Share Their Experience of Covering Topics Related to the Situation of Refugees from Ukraine

The media partners of the “Support for Ukrainian Refugees through Media” project – Jurnal TV, ElitaTV, Studio-L, and TV8 – shared their experience and impressions while preparing materials about persons displaced from Ukraine. The event was organized on January 19, 2024, in Chisinau, by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC). The project is a UNESCO initiative funded by the Government of Japan.

Nadine Gogu, IJC Executive Director, mentioned at the beginning of the meeting that it was intended for presenting the results and successes of the project and discussing the challenges faced while preparing the reports. “People say that chickens are counted in autumn, but we count our results in the beginning of the year. We’ve had five months of intense work in which we have managed to cover various aspects of Ukrainian refugees’ integration in the Republic of Moldova in the materials produced. A special section titled ‘Refugees in the Press’ is also launched on the Media-Azi website, where experience in creating materials with and about refugees from Ukraine is shared,” Nadine Gogu said.

H.E. Yamada Yoichiro, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Moldova, once again thanked the Republic of Moldova for its generous support for refugees from Ukraine, mentioning that citizens’ rights and freedoms need to be protected both in peacetime and in wartime. “UNESCO was created immediately after World War II. We, the Japanese, believe in journalism which promotes humanity, generosity, and peace. This confidence results from our history since World War II. Ordinary people hate war, but there are also those who promote it for the sake of retaining the power,” the ambassador emphasized, specifying that “freedom of the press is an indispensable pillar of a democratic society.”

Viorica Zaharia, expert and mentor within the project, said that the idea of supporting journalists who prepare materials about refugees seemed to her a very good one from the very start, and described this initiative as an opportunity for journalists to refresh their awareness of the UNESCO standards on media coverage of vulnerable groups, in this case, the refugees. “In the materials published, the journalists have presented a balanced image of persons displaced from Ukraine to the Republic of Moldova. They prepared reports covering serious issues faced by refugees in our country, and they also shared some success, good practices, and people’s stories for the public to empathize with. The materials prepared were of high quality and interesting for the general audience. At the same time, these reports served as a reply to the misinformation spread by the press about refugees from Ukraine in Moldova, according to which they enjoyed a lavish lifestyle or were privileged in comparison with the local residents,” Viorica Zaharia said.

Ana Gherciu, expert and mentor within the project, was glad that ‘constructive journalism’ became the term more and more widely used by journalists in the Republic of Moldova. “At, we have been practicing this principle for several years, and we observe its positive outcomes and constructive materials’ impact on the audience. The general observation about the efforts made by journalists is that we either aim to be very critical of what happens or to be very lenient towards vulnerable persons. This is where constructive journalism guides us helping us approach persons who have found themselves in rather complicated situations. I’m glad that the constructive approach was specifically applied to the refugees’ situation,” Ana Gherciu said.

It took the IJC media partners to make dozens of video reports about displaced people from Ukraine, sharing their life stories, challenges they face, and opportunities they find in the Republic of Moldova with the audience. In their reports, the journalists covered refugees’ needs, experiences, emotions, and psychological states. They also addressed the authorities demanding to help the Republic of Moldova take major steps towards integrating these people into society.

Elita TV: “While Discussing with Refugees, You Realize They Are Volcanoes of Emotions and Feelings”

Elita TV channel from Rezina made a series of broadcasts included in the section titled “Așa cum este” (“As It Is”) in which it covers various issues related to integration of Ukrainians, such as inclusion of children in the educational process in kindergartens and schools, employment, volunteering, or small business development. “We hope that, by means of this series of broadcasts, we have managed to demonstrate the situation of Ukrainians as it is, with their joys and sorrows. We have encountered some cases in which Ukrainians used to reside on the same street in their towns, but got acquainted only in Rezina where they met because of the war. We have also found out that many Ukrainians need psychological support. When you talk to them, you realize they are volcanoes of emotions and feelings. We have also tried to invite the representatives of various state institutions to the studio to hear some answers to the issues and challenges faced by Ukrainians in the Republic of Moldova. Therefore, voices of citizens, the central and local authorities, and civil society representatives have been heard in our broadcasts. All our shows had double voice-over in Ukrainian,” Angela Zaharova, producer at Elita TV, mentioned.

Jurnal TV: “We Identified Some Stories Which Left a Mark in Our Memory and Had to Be Heard by the Public”

The Jurnal TV team prepared several special editions of the show titled “Cealaltă Basarabie” (“Another Bessarabia”) and “DE FACTO”, in which they told refugees’ stories and touched upon various aspects of their situation in Moldova. Leanca Gritcan, producer of the “Cealaltă Basarabie” show, mentions that, while working, the team identified some stories which left a mark in their memory and had to be heard by the public. “Our protagonists told us that they had some support in Moldova. For instance, a lady has told us that she found her home here. Those people she was with created an atmosphere where she could finally feel safe. Another story is that of Elena, who used to work as a sales manager in Kharkiv, and upon her arrival in Moldova, she started volunteering and helping Ukrainians in Moldova. We also told the story of Olga, who became the checkers champion of the Republic of Moldova in spite of having only 10 per cent eyesight. Besides, in our broadcasts, we have offered solutions and provided contact details to facilitate their integration into society. Our shows had Ukrainian subtitles,” Leanca Gritcan said.

Iulia Sarivan, Jurnal TV journalist, mentioned that, in addition to social topics which are quite important, Moldovan and Ukrainian citizens need to be informed about the situation in Ukraine in political analysis broadcasts. “Aggression against a country is a political problem. In the ‘DE FACTO’ show which is broadcast twice a month, we have analyzed the events in Ukraine and the situation on the frontline, providing a comprehensive idea of the situation for the audience,” the journalist said.

Studio-L: “We Feel the War through Emotions and Words of Those Who Have Experienced It”

The Studio-L newsroom from Causeni produced several shows and reports included in the section titled Oamenii războiului (“People of the War”), in which it aimed to cover the war as it is seen by those who have experienced it. “We intended to fill in the informational gap related to integration of Ukrainian citizens who settled in Causeni and Stefan Voda Districts into society. Over 1000 Ukrainian citizens who have integrated into our society reside in this region. We have managed to reach approximately 15 urban and rural localities to identify the refugees and to cover their life stories. We feel the war through emotions and words of those who have experienced it. We have also suggested some solutions for the issues faced by Ukrainians and discussed the way national security has changed during the two years of wartime,” Renata Lupacescu, Studio-L editor-in-chief, said.

Irina Odinobecova, film director from Ukraine, joined the Studio-L team and managed to create a mini-documentary about the life of Ukrainian refugees consisting of 9 episodes. “It’s not an ordinary movie; it includes 9 life stories with 9 different protagonists. I find it important to discuss the fact that we are united by the tragedy called war, and to reveal the experiences and difficulties Ukrainians face in Moldova. We covered such issues as physical and psychological violence or difficulties encountered by persons with disabilities when they integrate into society. We also intended to demonstrate our way of living, what kind of people we are, the willpower and persistence we have, and the way we manage to integrate into a new society and a new country. We’re a nation with a well-developed sense of humor, and while we were making this movie, we were laughing and crying at the same time,” the director from Ukraine said.

TV8: “In Our Reports, We Have Covered Ukrainians’ Life Stories”

The TV8 team is another newsroom which brings important issues to the public attention for enhancing social cohesion and raises public awareness of the problems of displaced Ukrainians in Moldova. In the show titled “Bună seara! Noi suntem din Ucraina” (“Good Evening! We’re from Ukraine”), TV8 covered the stories of several Ukrainian citizens residing in Moldova, promoting awareness and empathy for the situation of people from Ukraine in society. Ukrainian journalist Irina Stryapko, who joined TV8 shortly after the war broke out, hosts the show. “In our reports, we covered life histories of Ukrainians who settled in Moldova, discussed the movie titled ‘The Road of the War’ created by Viorica Tataru and Andrei Captarenco, our colleagues from TV8, and presented the latest events in Ukraine to the public. We had several representatives of the authorities, as well as the Ambassador of Ukraine to Moldova, as guests taking part in our discussions. Our reports have had a large number of views on social networks, and the support we feel from the audience is quite important for us,” Irina Stryapko said.

The “Support for Ukrainian Refugees through Media” project implemented by the IJC and funded by the Government of Japan is a UNESCO initiative developed under the Ukraine Situation Regional Refugee Response Plan coordinated by the UNHCR.


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