It’s time to open a powerful information front to protect decentralisation, - Hennadii Zubko

The work of the media allows the public to understand where the country is moving and how the management system changes in the process of decentralisation. A special role belongs to the regional media, that, in my opinion, have more trust from citizens and are more unbiased in coverage of qualitative changes on the ground. The time has come to open a powerful informational front not only for the presentation of the decentralisation results, but also for the protection of reform, emphasised Hennadii Zubko, Vice Prime Minister – Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine, at the awarding ceremony of the finalists of the All-Ukrainian Journalistic Competition “Reforming Local Self-Government and Territorial Organisation of Power”.

“Implementation of decentralisation concerns not only hromadas’ amalgamation, transfer of powers and opportunities to the ground, it is also introduction of European principles of democratic governance in our country, where every citizen can influence the authorities both at the central and local levels, control their decisions and activities, demand reports on spent budget funds. This is the European democracy that unites Ukrainian society around the goal of joining the EU and NATO,” said Hennadii Zubko.

The official thanked all journalists, who highlight decentralisation, write about the problems that appear during the reform implementation, and most importantly – together with local authorities, try to find answers that are of concern to society.

In turn, Olena Lytvynenko, Deputy Head of the Office of the Council of Europe in Ukraine said: “The reform was and remains on the Council of Europe’s agenda as one of the priorities. And we can state that the real impetus to decentralisation was made in 2014, when hromadas started amalgamating, becoming financially strong, when powers and opportunities of local self-government bodies were extended. And in the opinion of not only the Council of Europe, but also many international organisations, this reform is currently the most successful in Ukraine, which shows a consistent and effective result! Of course, this is the reform Ukraine can and should be proud of! This is the positive thing happening in the country against the backdrop of turbulent events and a complex socio-political situation. And it’s important to highlight these results, since well-informed citizens in different corners of Ukraine and at different levels of government become more active and responsible in decision making.”

Anatoliy Tkachuk, director on science and development of the NGO “Civil Society Institute”, agrees with the official on media’s important role in highlighting the decentralisation reform: “I personally made sure that information should be communicated to every Ukrainian, since people, for some reason, do not see changes on the ground. But the present time dictates new requirements to submission of such information. It should be brief and not overloaded with figures. And most importantly, journalists should refuse from information built on myths, and cover real change through the decentralisation reform,” Mr. Tkachuk said.

We would like to recall that the annual All-Ukrainian Journalistic Competition on “Reforming Local Self-Government and Territorial Organisation of Power” is conducted by the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine together with the Council of Europe Programme “Decentralisation and Territorial Consolidation in Ukraine” and Internews-Ukraine.

This time, 269 journalistic reports were submitted to the competition, of which 12 reports (20 authors and co-authors) were selected. The winners represent the Dnipropetrovsk, Zhytomyr, Zakarpattia, Mykolayiv, Odesa, Rivne, Sumy Oblasts (one finalist per oblast), Khmelnytskyi – 2 finalists, Cherkasy Oblast is represented by 3 finalists for the second year in a row.

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