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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 its Kyiv bureau with a reporting network that extends to the front lines, it is available on its website, social networks, radio, and TV.
  • The service is distinguished for its award-winning 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. In 2018 episodes were viewed 2.5 million times.
  • The service’s Crimea.Realities website, launched in 2014 following Crimea’s 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 2018, it received on average 1.7 million monthly visits.
  • The Donbas.Realities unit provides exclusive reporting from the frontlines of Russia-backed separatist territories 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 designated Partly Free by Freedom House with a score of 111/198; Crimea is designated not free (195/198). 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, 2019

  • Website and Apps: 90.9 million visits; 126.0 million page views
  • Facebook: 219.8 million video views; 44.7 million engaged users; 659,000 followers
  • YouTube: 176.7 million views; 630,000 subscribers
  • Instagram: 10.4 million video views; 3.0 million IGTV views; 79,000 followers
  • Twitter: 491,000 followers

Updated: March 2020

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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