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RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service: Radio Svoboda

Radio Svoboda is dedicated to covering all of Ukraine, including the conflict zones and Crimea, and sets a standard for balanced reporting and high-impact investigative journalism.

Fast Facts

  • RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, known locally as Radio Svoboda, provides accurate and balanced coverage of local, regional, and national news and events. Operating out of a bureau in Kyiv with a reporting network that extends to the front lines, it is available on its website, social networks, radio, and TV.
  • Radio Svoboda is among the most cited media outlets in Ukraine (Fall 2020 survey) and has earned a high level of trust from its audience. One in 5 Ukrainians report watching the Service’s reports on popular Ukrainian TV channels.
  • The Service is distinguished for its investigative TV program Schemes, whose high impact reporting on corruption among Ukraine’s political elites has informed official investigations, led to high-level dismissals, and promoted greater public accountability in Ukraine.
  • The Service’s Crimea.Realities website, launched in 2014 following Crimea’s illegal annexation by Russia, is one of the peninsula’s only independent news sources and is unique in reporting in the Ukrainian, Russian, and Crimean Tatar languages. In 2020, it received on average 2.5 million monthly visits. Radio Crimea.Realities can be heard on nearly the entire Crimean peninsula on 648 AM frequency.
  • The Donbas.Realities unit provides exclusive reporting from the frontlines of the territories held by Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
  • Reporters with the Ukrainian Service work at enormous risk. RFE/RL contributors Stanislav Aseyev and Oleh Halaziuk, who were released in a prisoner exchange in December 2019, were tortured and held virtually incommunicado for over two years by Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk. Crimean contributor Mykola Semena, whose conviction was vacated in January 2020, spent 2 1/2 years under house arrest after a Russia-backed court found him guilty of “separatism.” Members of the Schemes investigative team have been subjected to assault, doxxing, and online threats.
  • In press freedom rankings, Ukraine is ranked 96th among 180 countries by Reporters Without Borders. The Committee to Protect Journalists and other rights monitors have deplored the monopolization of the media by oligarchs, the targeting of journalists in conflict zones, intimidation of journalists, and impunity of perpetrators of crimes against them.

Impact

January – December, 2020

  • Website and Apps: 112.5 million visits; 153.6 million page views; 55.8 million unique visitors
  • Facebook: Ukraine: 304 million video views; 49.4 million engaged users; 765,000 followers
    Crimea: 76.1 million video views; 10.4 million engaged users; 124,000 followers
  • YouTube: Ukraine and Crimea: 275 million views; 1.1 million subscribers
  • Instagram: Over 856,000 video views; 7.3 million IGTV views; 124,000 followers

Updated: January 2021

Facts & Stats about Ukraine

  • Population: 44.62 million (World Bank estimate, 2018)
  • Most Common Languages: Ukrainian, Russian, Crimean Tartar, Yiddish
  • Press Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, ranked 111 out of 198 (2017)​
  • Crimea--Not Free, ranked 195 out of 198 (2017)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 102 out of 180 (2019)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 126 out of 180 (2019)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 150 out of 163 (2019)
  • Human Rights Watch: Report on Ukraine (2019)
  • Amnesty International: Ukraine Report (2017/2018)

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