Challenges to freedom of speech and journalists in wartime: sociological research

This study analyzes the challenges to journalists and freedom of speech in Ukraine within the context of large-scale armed aggression of the Russian Federation. With the help of focus groups and expert survey of journalists, the challenges to the following components of freedom of speech are described: censorship and self-censorship; impact of legal regulation; threat of punishment; journalists’ assessment of the level of their safety, etc.

The research includes a quantitative expert survey of 132 journalists between January 18 and 27, 2023, as well as a qualitative focus group study (three focus groups of 11 media persons each). For comparison, the data of a similar survey conducted from May 30 to June 14, 2019, in which 127 journalists took part, is provided.

The research is conducted by Human Rights Centre ZMINA in cooperation with Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation with the support of Freedom House Ukraine; it is part of the project “Supporting defenders of freedom of speech and expression in Ukraine during the conflict”. ZMINA and its partners – Human Rights Platform and Institute of Mass Information – support everyone’s right to freedom of thought and speech and to the free expression of their views.

The research can be viewed in English and Ukrainian.

Authors: Polina Bondarenko, Tetiana Pechonchyk, Andrii Sukharyna, Volodymyr Yavorskyi