In November 2013, mass protests broke out in Ukraine when President Yanukovych chose not to sign a planned Association Agreement with the European Union. Kyiv’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) became ‘EuroMaidan’ as huge crowds of demonstrators expressed their anger at the government. This essay examines the part played by journalists during EuroMaidan and the struggles around media resources that were central to these dramatic recent events in Ukrainian politics. Attention is devoted to journalist activism, the use of social networks, the emergence of new information sources, and the behaviour of leading national TV channels. Attempts to suppress anti-government narratives are described and their impact assessed. The essay identifies three weaknesses which combined to undermine Yanukovych’s position in the ‘battle for the narrative’: (1) dissent and activism among Ukraine’s professional journalist community; (2) the autonomous nature and increasing accessibility of online communication; and (3) the sensitivity of media-owning oligarchs to public and international opinion.
Language of contribution: English