Challenges Faced by Ukrainian Fact-Checkers in Communicating Information to the Audience

The level of trust among Ukrainians towards fakes remains unacceptably high. Ordinary Ukrainians are not ready to conduct fact-checking on their own.

The study ‘Fake news and disinformation discourse in the Ukrainian media space’ prepared by NGO “CAT-UA: Communication Analysis Team – Ukraine” for the Netzwerk für Osteuropa-Berichterstattung e.V. (n-ost)

Despite some increase in critical attitude towards Russian fakes, it is difficult to claim that Ukrainian society has a sufficient level of media literacy.
Russian fakes have become more emotional: they either scare or attract in order to divide Ukrainian society.
The mass audience is not willing to learn fact-checking systematically, but is willing to consider simple recommendations: to be critical of information from unknown sources and to trust official sources.
The content of Ukrainian fact-checkers has limited coverage due to insufficient cooperation with popular media and weak promotion of their communication channels on social media.
Although the Ukrainian fact-checking community has achieved significant success in combating disinformation, there is a need for further improvement in communication with the public, greater attention to media issues at the local level, and an increase in the level of information literacy among the population.
Only through joint efforts can we counter disinformation and support a strong, democratic society.

To conduct the expert opinion study, a group of six Ukrainian media experts was selected, whose key competencies, confirmed by scientific publications and/or verified practical achievements, were expected to include at least the following:

  • Mass communication theory/media quality assessment;
  • Mass communication practice/media consulting;
  • Practical fact-checking;
  • Theoretical assessment of Ukrainian local media issues;
  • Practice in projects supporting Ukrainian local media.

The expert study was conducted in two stages:
1. Personal interviews with experts using a single script, covering key research questions in general.
2. Group discussion with experts (focus group discussion, hereafter referred to as FGD), in which a part of the questions from the personal interviews script was presented in a slightly expanded form to clarify specific nuances of expert opinion, as well as questions regarding the project’s goals, with the presentation of corresponding slides.