Fight for Facts

The Lviv Media Forum, in collaboration with the German organization n-ost, implemented the Fight for Facts project in 2022.

Information warfare has been an integral part of Ukraine's resistance from the early days of the war, and it has become even more crucial during the full-scale invasion. Recognizing this, the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine established the Center for Countering Disinformation, and media professionals are working tirelessly to prevent the manipulation of facts by Russia. For example, the Vox-Ukraine team prepares daily reviews of propagandist narratives, and the Institute of Mass Information exposed a pro-Russian network of Telegram channels.

The Lviv Media Forum joined this common cause. In 2021, we created the "Western Ukrainian Network to Counter Disinformation," and in 2022, we introduced the Fight for Facts project.

"The situation that arose after February 24, 2022, is a challenge for us. Ukrainian media professionals are facing an unprecedented influx of fakes. For the first time in history, they have to simultaneously counter Russian manipulation both at home and in temporarily occupied territories and abroad. This is a significant and vital task that impacts the course of the war. To help and support our colleagues, we launched a joint project with n-ost," said Kateryna Akvarelina, project manager of the Lviv Media Forum.

The goal of Fight for Facts is to assist Ukrainian media in countering disinformation. This involves work in two main directions: educational and organizational.

Within the project, four training sessions were conducted. During these sessions, editorial teams improved their skills in creating and promoting content on social media and learned how to effectively counter fake news.

The theme of the first training was "Content during wartime," held in August 2022. Taras Ilkiv, the head of the online platform "Radio Svoboda," discussed what to do with content during wartime to ensure it reaches the audience and which platforms to use.

During the second training, journalist Otar Dovzhenko addressed the sensitive aspects of content, including how to report news in a way that does not inadvertently aid the enemy and how to ethically cover the deaths of both military personnel and civilians, as well as the fate of Ukrainian prisoners.

In October 2022, a three-day SAFE training for local media was held, conducted by the IREX team, an organization specializing in international education and development. IREX shared risk management techniques, stress management, crisis communication, and also provided insights on personal data protection.

"It was interesting to learn about stress management techniques," said Vita Sakhnik, a participant from the First Channel of Social News. "These are undoubtedly valuable skills because I often encounter stories that require emotional resilience."

The fourth training took place in November 2022. Over two days, the following topics were covered:

  • The Molfar team, Ukraine's largest OSINT agency, discussed fact-checking, propaganda, and information warfare.
  • Vasyl Bidun from "Sledstva.Info" explained how to verify information about Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
  • Anatoliy Ostapenko from "Toronto Television" showcased why Russia uses conspiracy theorists and conspiracy theories.

Participants in all four training sessions included journalists from eighteen local media outlets: Babel (Kyiv), Chitomo (Kyiv), NikVesti (Mykolaiv), Nakypilo (Kharkiv), Maidan (Kharkiv), Kharkiv Times, IzborKom (Odesa),, Chas Chernihivsky (Chernihiv), 061 (Zaporizhzhia), Chetverta Vlada (Rivne), Varosh (Zakarpattia), Pershy Kryvorizky (Kryvyi Rih), Shpalta (Chernivtsi), MOST (Kherson), Zaxid.Net (Lviv), Kurs (Ivano-Frankivsk), Pershy Kanal Sotsialnykh Novyn (Lutsk).