Mykhailo Bagan from Ukraine, 24, is currently finishing his studies at the Donetsk National University at the faculty of political science and works at the media organisation News of Donbass ( and the Public Television of Donbass.

Freedom of speech is one of the most important issues in Ukraine since it gained its independence. According to the rating of the human rights organization Freedom House in 2015, Ukraine has risen from 139 to 126 lines, and moved from the category of non-free countries in the category of partly free.

Journalists that are working in different regions of the country face different problems. In areas not affected by armed conflict, the problems remain the same. Primarily it is dependence on the owner of journalists editions and the availability of materials that are made-to-order. It concerns as to regional so to national publications.
The report of public organization "Institute of Mass Information" states that in May 2015 experts have recorded growth the materials with the features of the order in the online media. There were 49 materials of this kind. A similar situation persists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions controlled by the official Ukrainian authorities.
In the Crimea and in the territories that are under the control of illegal armed groups, there is a tendency to an increasing deterioration of the freedom of speech.
Particularly, according to Freedom House report, the freedom of speech in Crimea is worse than in Syria and Iran.
On the territory of Donbass, uncontrolled by Ukrainian authorities, the situation with freedom of speech is deteriorating since March 2014.
After the Donetsk and Luhansk came under control of armed separatists, editions, that refused to cooperate with representatives of "D/LPR", left the city.
In particular, the two largest independent online edition of Donetsk - "News of Donbass" ( and "Ostrov" ( evacuated their offices to Kiev. The journalists of this editions are now working in different towns of Donetsk region, controlled by official Ukrainian authorities.
Since the beginning of hostilities some journalists were seized as the hostages in "DPR". Among them there were journalists Anton Skiba (at the time of arrest worked as the CNN fixer), Pavel Kanygin ("Novaya Gazeta", Russia, was prisoned twice - in May 2014, June 2015). Overall, according to information of the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine, 40 journalists were imprisoned by separatists since the beginning of armed conflict in Donbass in March 2014.
The number of journalists, which were killed at fulfillment of their professional duties during the fighting in the east of Ukraine, is increasing.
The arrests and killings of journalists happened in other regions of the country. In particular, the most resonant events were the arrest in April of 2015 the Ivano-Frankivsk journalist Ruslan Kotsaba, who had spoken against the mobilization in Ukraine, and the murder of journalist Oles Busina, which had taken place in the same month.
One of the most significant problems in Ukraine is the Russian propaganda. According to the opinions of most experts aggressive rhetoric of Russian mass media has played the main role in the outbreak of the armed conflict in Donbass. The same dirty rhetoric remains one of the main obstacles to overcoming it. The separatist propaganda resources  television, radio, newspapers, leaflets, etc.  also play an important role in maintaining the conflict.
The most Ukrainian journalists agree that the answer to this propaganda should be compliance with journalistic standards. However, an aggressive rhetoric in a part of Ukrainian media (TSN,, is observed.
Many Ukrainian journalists have expressed fears that the media will be under pressure from the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine, established in January 2015. However, there are currently no media statements about the pressure on journalistic activity of this structure. According to official background, the Ministry of Information Policy is intended to develop a strategy to deal with Russia's propaganda.
Despite the increase in the rating of Ukraine in the Freedom House report on the 13 steps, the situation of freedom of speech remains difficult.
Freedom of speech remains under threat in other regions of Ukraine. To solve this problem, it is necessary to implement a reform that will open the information about the owners of the media, and also save non-governmental and independent media from the pressure of the government and local authorities. But most importantly, it is necessary to create conditions for the wider distribution of the independent media.

 Mykhailo Bagan