Perceptions of media coverage of the war in Ukraine (2023)

On 24 February, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, marking the start of the biggest war in Europe since the Second World War. Major news organisations around the world have embedded journalists in Ukraine to cover bombings and violence in hard-hit towns and cities across broadcast, digital, and print media. Journalists, civilians, and politicians – most notably Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – have also taken to social networks like TikTok, Telegram, and Twitter to document the horrors of the war for a global audience in real time. The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine, along with the scale of the Western response to Russia’s invasion, has far-reaching political and economic effects.

To better understand how people have been accessing news about the Russia–Ukraine conflict, and to explore the impact this might have on overall trends in attitudes and behaviours, we commissioned YouGov to carry out a separate follow-up survey in five countries: Brazil, Germany, Poland, the UK, and the US. These countries were selected because they represent different levels of proximity to the conflict, ranging from Poland, which borders Ukraine, to Brazil and the US, which are on different continents. Fieldwork took place from 29 March to 7 April 2022 – roughly one month after the invasion began. We polled around 1,000 respondents in each country, and samples were assembled using the same quotas as the main survey. The questionnaire contained several new questions specifically about the Russia–Ukraine conflict, as well a handful of key questions from the main Digital News Report survey on news interest, use, avoidance, and trust. This allows us to directly compare our ‘pre-conflict’ results from the main 2022 survey and the ‘during conflict’ follow-up survey. However, because the Russia-Ukraine conflict overlapped with other domestic news stories, not all changes we see will be a direct result of coverage of the conflict.

An episode on the chapter

Listen on: Spotify | Apple | Google

(Video) How Russian State Media Is Portraying the War in Ukraine | WSJ

Most people are following the conflict closely

First, how much attention are people paying to news about the conflict? In all five countries, a majority are following the Russia–Ukraine conflict at least somewhat closely. Although the conflict has global consequences, attention is highest in Germany, which is both geographically close to the conflict and where the effects are already filtering down to the lives of ordinary people – for example, in terms of energy prices. In Brazil, which is politically and geographically farther from the conflict, around 40% are not following it closely.

Some of these findings are in line with earlier data on those who are not consuming any news sources at all in markets like the US and UK. But in countries like Brazil and Germany, the proportion of 18–24s not following the conflict at all is particularly high compared with other age groups. And in the US and UK, women are slightly more likely than men to not be paying close attention to the war.

As we have seen with other major world events, people turn more to TV news at times of crisis. When asking respondents which news source they are paying the most attention to when it comes to the Russia–Ukraine conflict, television tops the list for three of the five countries – with the most attention to TV news on the conflict spread out geographically, from Germany (46%) and Brazil (44%). In the US and Poland, online news sites, non-mainstream sites, and social media combined account for a larger share – but TV is still the most widely used individual source for news about the conflict.

(Video) The war in Ukraine according to the US media | The Listening Post

We see some differences in preferred sources by both age and market. For instance, the same splits we see in TV versus social media use between younger and older cohorts also applies to the most important platform for following the Russia–Ukraine conflict. In the UK, for instance, more than half (55%) of those 55 or older, but only 13% of 18–24s, are paying the most attention to TV news on the Russia–Ukraine conflict. And nearly eight times as many 18–24s (15%) are paying the most attention to social media news on the war as those 55 and older (2%). Further, while TV is especially dominant for information about the conflict in countries like Germany, social media are a particularly important source in Brazil, with 23% of people paying the most attention to these platforms for related information.

How has the conflict influenced people’s news behaviours and attitudes?

We also used this follow-up survey to explore whether the trends we described in the Executive Summary – namely, decreases in news use and interest and increases in news avoidance – were reversed by the extensive coverage of the Russia–Ukraine conflict. We did this by repeating the same key questions (albeit to a different sample of respondents) and looking for differences between the ‘pre-conflict’ sample from the main 2022 survey and the ‘during conflict’ follow-up survey. Of course, we need to be cautious about attributing all changes to coverage of the conflict. Major domestic stories – such as the ‘Partygate’ scandal in the UK – were unfolding in parallel, and these may also have influenced people’s attitudes and behaviours around news.

In general, we find little evidence that these long-term trends have been reversed – even temporarily – and in some cases there’s possible evidence that they have been accelerated. The clearest example of this is news avoidance. In Germany, Poland, and the US, the proportion who say they sometimes or often actively avoid the news has increased. The biggest increase of all was in Germany (+7pp), but significant increases can also be seen in Poland (+6pp) and the US (+4pp). To put some of these changes in context, the increase of 7pp in Germany in just two months is larger than the 5pp increase we saw in the five years from 2017 to 2022. We know that one of the main reasons people avoid the news is because of the negative effect it has on their mood, so it would be unsurprising if the deeply depressing and concerning nature of conflict has caused more people to turn away from it. In the UK and Brazil, where news avoidance was already high, we do not see evidence of a further increase – but it is equally important to note that it has not decreased either. Furthermore, in these two countries, news avoidance has already increased markedly in recent years – by 11pp from 2019 to 2022 in the case of the UK, and by 20pp in Brazil.

(Video) Design Flaw In Russian Tanks Impacts War In Ukraine

Despite the increase in news avoidance, the proportion who say they access news several times a day increased in Poland by 6pp. This highlights that news avoidance and news use are not mutually exclusive, and that people can make a conscious decision to moderate their news use – or perhaps coverage on specific topics – while still regularly checking in. In Poland, around 40% of people who accessed news several times a day during the conflict also say they sometimes or often actively avoid the news. The proportion who accessed the news several times a day fell by 6pp in Brazil and 4pp in Germany, and remained stable elsewhere.

In Poland and Germany, closest to the conflict, TV use for news in general is also up from before the conflict (3pp for Germany and 9pp for Poland). Use of social media for news in general remains even or is down across all countries – in Germany, for instance, by as much as 7pp for social media – perhaps because people are seeking out professional coverage or want to step back from continuous updates. But in general, it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions about the effect of the Russia–Ukraine crisis on frequency of news access, especially as the polling took place several weeks after the invasion began.

Looking instead at interest levels in news, we again see the biggest change in Poland – a 7pp increase from pre-conflict levels. However, because declines in news interest have been so steep since 2020, this increase only represents a return to 2021 levels. Elsewhere, interest has either been unaffected, or – as in Brazil (-6pp) – continues to fall. Despite its severity, the Russia–Ukraine conflict has done little to reverse declining levels of interest in most countries, even in the short term. We see a similar picture when we look at levels of trust in news. Despite the bravery of journalists on the ground in Ukraine and the remarkable reporting they have produced, trust in news has not been affected – aside from a 4pp increase in the UK.

(Video) Hypocritical Media Coverage of Ukraine vs. the Middle East

How do people feel about the news media’s coverage of the conflict?

Finally, we wanted to gauge how people feel about the media’s performance covering the Russia–Ukraine conflict. To do this, we asked people to rate how well the news media have done keeping people up to date, explaining the wider implications, and providing a range of different perspectives on the conflict. The news media are broadly seen to be doing a good job with coverage, especially on keeping people up to date on the latest news – with nearly half or more of respondents in all five countries agreeing the media have done a good job with this. But in general, they feel the media have not performed quite as well for explaining the wider implications of the conflict or providing a different range of perspectives on it – clearly illustrating, across all five countries, where news organisations could be doing a better job as the crisis continues to unfold. In general, people in the older age groups, and those with more formal education, tend to rate all aspects of the coverage more favourably.

Conclusions

In the wake of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than six million Ukrainian refugees1 – and with Russia now being accused by the international community of widespread human rights violations – the war in Ukraine continues to attract global attention. Across the five countries we study here, a majority are following the conflict at least somewhat closely, especially those nearest to it.

As we've seen with other major world events, many people are turning to television news for the latest information on the conflict – illustrating the continuing resonance of broadcast media in times of crisis. This may not be surprising, particularly given concerns about false or misleading information circulating on social media platforms. But in some countries, such as the US and Poland, attention to news from online sources (including mainstream and alternative news sites as well as social media) is also high.

(Video) Ukrainian forces are inching closer to Russian-controlled territory. See what the front line is like

Possibly given the difficult and at times traumatic nature of war coverage, we see some evidence of accelerating news avoidance across several countries – for instance, up 7pp in Germany. And while short-term news behaviours and attitudes have appeared to change in Poland – with increased news use and interest in the country closest to the conflict – even a story as newsworthy and significant as the war in Ukraine has not reversed declining levels of news interest in most countries.

As the conflict persists, it will be especially important for newsrooms to refocus efforts around explaining its wider implications. Given our findings this year on the percentage of younger and less educated news audiences finding the news hard to understand, as we discuss in the Executive Summary, clear ‘explainers’ and contextualisation of the Russia–Ukraine conflict – both what it means for those most affected by the war in and around Ukraine, as well as its broader implications for global audiences – may draw in a segment of news avoiders who simply want clearer, more relevant information. People largely do not feel as positively about news organisations providing a different range of perspectives on the conflict. However, as the invasion continues, and as new atrocities occur daily, providing alternative perspectives is unlikely to be seen by journalists as the most pressing task.

Footnotes

1 https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/ukraine/location?secret=unhcrrestricted

(Video) Ukrainian woman reveals the question Russian soldiers 'always' asked

FAQs

What is the US doing to help Ukraine? ›

The U.S. government has responded to the Russian Federation's brutal war against Ukraine by delivering $8.5 billion in direct budget support to the Government of Ukraine to help maintain critical government services, such as paying salaries of first responders, meeting pension obligations, and maintaining hospitals.

What media is in Ukraine? ›

Kyiv dominates the media sector in Ukraine. The Kyiv Post, which is published weekly on Friday, is Ukraine's leading English-language newspaper. National newspapers include Den and Zerkalo Nedeli; and tabloids such as The Ukrainian Week or Focus (Russian) are published there too.

Why is Ukraine important to the United States? ›

The United States reaffirms its unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters. The U.S.-Ukraine relationship serves as a cornerstone for security, democracy, and human rights in Ukraine and the broader region.

How many countries support Ukraine? ›

The Kiel Institute has tracked €93.4 billion from 40 countries in financial, humanitarian, and military aid to Ukraine, from 24 January to 3 October 2022.

How much does the US military give to Ukraine? ›

This drawdown will bring the total U.S. military assistance for Ukraine to an unprecedented level of approximately $19.3 billion since the beginning of the Administration.

How much has NATO Given Ukraine? ›

More US aid

"We've provided Ukraine with nearly $7 billion in security assistance since I took office.

How are the press protected in Ukraine? ›

The U.N. Security Council in 2015 adopted – by unanimous vote – Resolution 2222 affirming that states must respect and protect journalists as civilians. Resolution 2222 also confirms that media equipment and installations constitute civilian objects and shall not be the object of attack or reprisals.

Is Google supporting Ukraine? ›

Throughout the war, we've been committed to doing all we can to help. Through Google.org and our employees, we have committed over $40 million in cash donations, plus $5 million of in-kind support for humanitarian relief efforts, and three Google.org Fellowships.

Why is Ukraine not in NATO? ›

Plans for NATO membership were shelved by Ukraine following the 2010 presidential election in which Viktor Yanukovych, who preferred to keep the country non-aligned, was elected President.

Why does the US want to protect Ukraine? ›

The United States, our allies, and our partners worldwide are united in support of Ukraine in response to Russia's premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified war against Ukraine.

What does the US rely on from Ukraine? ›

In 2019, of the $1.3 billion in U.S. imports from Ukraine, the top commodity sectors were Base metals (59.0%), Agriculture products (12.0%), and Machinery and Mechanical Appliances (9.5%).

Who has given the most aid to Ukraine? ›

ukraine war

Data from the Ukraine Support Tracker shows that the U.S. has provided by far the most aid to the country, followed by EU institutions (16.2 billion euros), the UK (6.7 billion euros), Germany (3.3 billion euros) and Canada (3 billion euros).

Who has given most weapons to Ukraine? ›

Ukraine has received more than 230 Warsaw Pact-designed tanks from Poland and the Czech Republic. Ukraine's armed forces have been using T-72s for decades and have maintenance and spare parts capabilities, in addition to trained crew.

Who is supplying military aid to Ukraine? ›

The US is the largest provider of military assistance to Ukraine, having committed $19.3 billion since the start of the Biden administration. $18.6 billion of that assistance has been provided since February 2022.

How much money has Canada sent to Ukraine? ›

Since January 2022, Canada has committed $320 million in humanitarian assistance to the United Nations, Red Cross, and non-governmental partners to respond to the humanitarian impacts of Russia's invasion in Ukraine and neighboring countries.

When did Russia leave NATO? ›

The Russia–NATO relations started to deteriorate, following the Ukrainian Orange Revolution in 2004–05. In October 2021, following an incident in which NATO expelled eight Russian officials from its Brussels headquarters, Russia suspended its mission to NATO and ordered the closure of the NATO office in Moscow.

How strong is NATO? ›

The combined total of Nato military personnel currently exceeds 5.4 million – around four times as many as Russia, according to Statista. It has about five times as many aircraft, four times as many armoured vehicles and three times as many military ships.

Can NATO supply weapons to Ukraine? ›

Individual NATO member countries are sending weapons, ammunition and many types of light and heavy military equipment, including anti-tank and air defence systems, howitzers and drones. To date, NATO Allies have provided billions of euros' worth of military equipment to Ukraine.

Are the press safe in Ukraine? ›

It also includes a duty to respect their professional independence.” Unfortunately, journalists in Ukraine are not safe from attacks by the invading army. On the contrary, there are reports of the Russian military targeting journalists.

What countries do not allow freedom of the press? ›

According to Amnesty International, freedom of expression is significantly limited in China and North Korea. Freedom of speech has improved in Myanmar in recent years, but significant challenges remain.

Is it safe for journalists to be in Ukraine? ›

Media researcher Dr. Roman Horbyk has recently returned from six weeks in Ukraine. He spoke to DW Akademie about training journalists in the war-stricken country and the current needs of Ukrainian media.

Does Facebook support Ukraine? ›

We support ukraine - Home | Facebook.

How CNN verifies Social media videos from Ukraine? ›

CNN had to verify that the footage was both recent and accurate through a process called geolocating. Kate Polglase, a CNN investigative researcher, outlined the steps involved on “Reliable Sources” Sunday. The process begins by reverse image searching the video on Google Earth and a Russian search engine equivalent.

Does Ukraine have a free media? ›

Since then the Ukrainian press is considered to be among the freest of all post-Soviet states (only the Baltic states are considered "free").

Are Amazon supporting Ukraine? ›

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Amazon has donated more than $45 million in financial support, products, and cloud computing credits to nonprofits working on the ground to help the people and institutions of Ukraine.

Is Microsoft supporting Ukraine? ›

Today's commitment will bring Microsoft's total support for Ukraine to more than $400 million since the war began in February. In addition to enabling technology services to run in the Microsoft Cloud, the company continues to: Support the country with critical cybersecurity protection.

Has Google left Russia? ›

Google is officially done with Russia, after the government seized its local bank accounts and made continuing operations there impossible.

Is NATO the strongest military alliance in the world? ›

The country with the second largest number of military personnel was Turkey, with just around 447,000 personnel. NATO, which was formed in 1949, is the most powerful military alliance in the world.

Is Japan a NATO member? ›

Japan, a key United States ally and not a NATO member, has delivered defensive supplies to Ukraine and imposed tough sanctions on Russia in tandem with the other Group of Seven (G7) countries.

Can NATO legally defend Ukraine? ›

Direct military intervention by NATO is problematic legally. Article 5 of the NATO Treaty is for self-defence and applies only to member states. NATO has therefore said that it will not intervene militarily in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

Is Ukraine a major oil producer? ›

Crude Oil Production in Ukraine averaged 49.74 BBL/D/1K from 1993 until 2022, reaching an all time high of 71.00 BBL/D/1K in January of 1993 and a record low of 0.00 BBL/D/1K in April of 2022.

Is NATO helping Ukraine? ›

NATO will further step up support for Ukraine, while strengthening the Alliance's defence and deterrence and working to increase the protection of critical infrastructure, Secretary General Stoltenberg said on Thursday (13 October 2022).

Does the US use its own oil? ›

The U.S does indeed produce enough oil to meet its own needs. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2020 America produced 18.4 million barrels of oil per day and consumed 18.12 million.

What is Ukraine's biggest export? ›

Agricultural products are Ukraine's most important exports. In 2021 they totaled $27.8 billion, accounting for 41 percent of the country's $68 billion in overall exports. Ukraine is normally the world's top producer of sunflower meal, oil, and seed and the world's top exporter of sunflower meal and oil.

What is Russia biggest export? ›

Exports The top exports of Russia are Crude Petroleum ($74.4B), Refined Petroleum ($48B), Petroleum Gas ($19.7B), Gold ($18.7B), and Coal Briquettes ($14.5B), exporting mostly to China ($49.3B), United Kingdom ($25.3B), Netherlands ($22.5B), Belarus ($15.8B), and Germany ($14.2B).

Who sent most humanitarian aid to Ukraine? ›

A search of the platform's database reveals almost $19.4 billion of grant funding. The funding is primarily either for humanitarian activity or to maintain essential infrastructure in Ukraine. By far, the largest grant is $4.5 billion from the United States, via the World Bank, announced in August.

How much money did us send to Ukraine? ›

$2.8 Billion in Additional U.S. Military Assistance for Ukraine and Its Neighbors.

Why is Poland so supportive of Ukraine? ›

This is due to Poland's vision of the basic contours of European security in the context of its national interests and the desire to play an important role in a renewed Alliance that adapts to modern conditions. Similar reasons determine the Polish support for Ukraine's European integration.

How many tanks has Russia lost Ukraine? ›

And it's a staggering figure as well. According to the Dutch warfare research group Oryx, Russia has lost 1,450 tanks since the war began, nearly 900 of which have been damaged or destroyed. The rest were abandoned by the Russians, and many of those ultimately have since been captured by the Ukrainians.

How many guns have Ukraine given out? ›

The president and ministers often give guns to members of the elite, while making it hard for ordinary people to obtain them. It is estimated that more than 50,000 guns have been issued as presents from authorities.

How many tanks does NATO have? ›

These tanks are only used in NATO by their respective countries. There are roughly 200 tanks in service for each tank type, making a total of 800, plus roughly 1500 Leopard 2's and roughly 2500 M1 Abrams. The majority are M1A2's and the rest M1A1's.

Is the US selling weapons to Ukraine? ›

The United States has given Ukraine dozens of different munitions and weapon systems. In most instances, the amounts given to Ukraine are relatively small compared to U.S. inventories and production capabilities. However, some U.S. inventories are reaching the minimum levels needed for war plans and training.

How many tanks does Russia have left? ›

According to the Military Balance 2021, quoted in Kyiv Independent, Russia has over 10,000 battle tanks in storage, mainly T-72s and T-80s.

How many tanks has Ukraine captured? ›

24, Ukraine's Armed Forces have captured at least 440 Russian main battle tanks and 650 other armored vehicles, which make up "over half of Ukraine's currently fielded tank fleet," the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on Oct.

Is there still TV in Ukraine? ›

Commercial television is dominated by three major broadcasters: 1+1 media, StarLightMedia and Inter Media Group, which is the smallest Ukrainian major broadcaster. One of the main Ukrainian news channels, Channel 5, belongs to a former president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko.

Which news outlets are in Ukraine? ›

ukr.net ranked number 1 and is the most visited News & Media Publishers website in Ukraine in October 2022, followed by obozrevatel.com as the runner up, and censor.net ranking at 3rd place as the leaders of the News & Media Publishers websites in Ukraine.

What is the main news channel in Ukraine? ›

Espreso TV

It was founded in 2013. It mainly broadcasts the most current and most relevant news to people in Ukraine, to Ukrainians living abroad, and to all others interested in what is happening in Ukraine.

What UK journalists are in Ukraine? ›

Russia has barred top UK-based journalists and defence figures as part of sanctions, in response to UK measures on Russian public figures. The BBC's Clive Myrie, Orla Guerin, Nick Robinson and Nick Beake, who have reported from Ukraine, and Director General Tim Davie are on the list.

Are the Switchblade drones being used in Ukraine? ›

Ukraine has had repeated battlefield successes with the Switchblade 300 since the United States shipped it 400 of the lighter-weight loitering munition earlier this year, Charlie Dean, AeroVironment's vice president of sales and business development, said in an interview with Defense News at the Association of the U.S. ...

Is there an English speaking radio station in Ukraine? ›

In October 1962 Radio Kiev introduced its first English language program broadcast schedule with daily transmissions on various shortwave frequencies.

How many TV channels are in Ukraine? ›

The Ukrainian regulator National Council has established 44 local digital broadcasting channels in 17 of the country's regions. This, according to the National Council, is to ensure the transition of local TV broadcasters to the DVB-T2 standard.

Why did Google turn off traffic in Ukraine? ›

Google has disabled live traffic data from being displayed on its Maps app in Ukraine. The app displays this information by collecting anonymous data from Android smartphones, which shows how busy roads and different places are. But it has now been switched off in the region temporarily to protect users.

Why did Google Maps stop in Ukraine? ›

Google said the decision to disable these features was made to protect local users' safety after consultation with Ukrainian authorities, report Reuters and Vice.

Does Ukraine have freedom of press? ›

The Constitution of Ukraine and a 1991 law provide for freedom of speech.

Which is the No 1 news channel in world? ›

International news Channel networks with channels in several languages
NetworkEnglishHindi
CNN (US)CNN International, CNNj, CNN Philippines, CNN-News18 (India)-
RT (Russia)RT International, RT America, RT UK-
BBC (UK)BBC World NewsBBC News Hindi
i24NEWS (Israel)i24News english-
16 more rows

What is the Ukraine national television? ›

The Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Національна суспільна телерадіокомпанія України, romanized: Natsionalna Suspilna Teleradiokompaniia Ukrainy; abbr. NSTU), shortened to Suspilne (Ukrainian: Суспільне, lit. 'Public'), is the national public broadcaster in Ukraine.

Were Ukraine journalists killed? ›

For war correspondents, the risk of death has long been accepted as part of the job. Already, 15 journalists have been killed in Ukraine since the war began in February, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

How many war correspondents have been killed in Ukraine? ›

As of 30 May 2022, at least 15 civilian journalists and media workers have been killed in the line of duty since the Russo-Ukrainian War began in 2014.

Is Mark Austin still in Ukraine? ›

As the horror continues, Austin confirmed he had made the difficult decision to leave Kyiv. 'We moved out of Kyiv today so we can continue broadcasting at a more secure location in Ukraine,' he told his followers on Twitter.

Videos

1. Ukrainian woman reveals the question Russian soldiers 'always' asked
(CNN)
2. Disinformation and the Russia Ukraine war
(Princeton University)
3. See former Russian colonel's big change after criticizing Putin's war on state TV
(CNN)
4. Inside the war in Ukraine, 6 months since Russia invaded
(ABC News)
5. How Russia’s Disinformation Spreads Beyond Its Borders | Russia-Ukraine War
(The New York Times)
6. Ukraine: The information war | The Listening Post
(Al Jazeera English)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Catherine Tremblay

Last Updated: 10/14/2022

Views: 5772

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Catherine Tremblay

Birthday: 1999-09-23

Address: Suite 461 73643 Sherril Loaf, Dickinsonland, AZ 47941-2379

Phone: +2678139151039

Job: International Administration Supervisor

Hobby: Dowsing, Snowboarding, Rowing, Beekeeping, Calligraphy, Shooting, Air sports

Introduction: My name is Catherine Tremblay, I am a precious, perfect, tasty, enthusiastic, inexpensive, vast, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.