BBC Media Action, established as a “Marshall Plan for the mind” after the fall of the Berlin Wall, has worked with Ukrainian producers, directors and actors to create a docu-drama called 5Baksiv.net (translated as ‘5 Bucks’). Two young men set up a business where they come into contact with a broad section of Ukrainian society. The two focus on issues that young Ukrainians aged 15-24 care about: corruption, jobs and the war in the East. One of the lead characters speaks predominantly in Ukrainian, the other in Russian.

Ellie Haworth, Head of Projects, and Josephine Casserly, Governance and Rights Adviser, spoke about how the international development charity is attempting to address the rise of hate speech and polarisation of Ukraine between different groups.

 “The project attempts to reduce hate speech, counter conflicting narratives, and build tolerance” explained Haworth. At the same time the aim is to develop the capacity of Ukrainian broadcasting, and the episodes will be broadcast on NTU, the independent National Television Company of Ukraine as they attempt to establish themselves as a reliable public service provider. Casserly spoke about how BBC Media Action’s projects attempt to impact the media landscape of countries in transition, including acting as a watchdog and creating a space for constructive dialogue of nuanced and contentious issues. The discussion also looked at how countries in democratic transition can create objective coverage that has both emotional appeal to attract audiences and also enacts social change.