Ukrainian journalists fight another kind of war – against graft
Ukrainian reporter Serhii Andrushko believes his country’s struggle for freedom also includes another kind of war – against high-level corruption – which experts think could have more success now as Kyiv strives for European Union membership.
That might seem less urgent when soldiers are dying every day, but part of Ukraine’s battle includes shedding any perceived similarities to Russia. “Particularly its attitude to corruption,” Andrushko said.
They said a major political shake-up seen earlier this year, when more than a dozen officials were dismissed amid a flurry of critical domestic press coverage, could be a taste of things to come if Ukraine’s investigative journalists continue.
They will need to choose stories wisely and back up their reporting, he added, since being sloppy or overly critical can invite public scepticism or even accusations of being unpatriotic.
Before the war, critical reporting on illicit or scandalous behaviour had been a fixture in Ukraine, where a robust free press means reporters spotlight everything from opulent homes to luxurious trips abroad that are unaffordable on official salaries.
Such reports play a key role in Ukraine’s fledgling anti-corruption system, created after the 2014 Maidan revolution toppled pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych.