Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt: Independent media is critically important for Ukraine

According to the US Ambassador in Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, the promotion of fair and independent journalism will help Ukraine win the hybrid information war with Russia. Speaking at a conference entitled “Countering Information War in Ukraine” at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center on Friday, Pyatt asserted that it would be a misstep for Ukraine to create the same type of propaganda machine that exists in Russia.

“There is a phenomenon in psychology called mirroring, where you fall into the habit of simply reflecting the behaviors of your opponent. And that is, for me, one of the risks for Ukraine. It’s a huge mistake for the Ukrainian government, for the Ukrainian people, to create a troll factory like St. Petersburg, churning out counter-propaganda in social media. It’s a huge mistake to create a ‘Ministry of Truth’ that tries to generate alternative stories. That is not the way to defeat this information warfare,” Pyatt stated.

The American Ambassador went on to explain that the best way for Ukraine to combat Russian propaganda is to continue its path towards democratization and European integration. “Ukraine doesn’t need more state-sponsored media. What Ukraine needs is a successful Ukraine. And I would argue… the single most powerful refutation to the Kremlin’s hybrid war and information campaign against this country is a successful, modernizing, European, democratic Ukraine,” the Ambassador noted.

The diplomat also highlighted the importance of freedom of speech and freedom of press in the establishment of an open society in Ukraine.

As Pyatt explained, for Ukraine to continue on its path to success, it is crucial to “protect freedom of speech. It’s critically important, and a core European value, to allow diversity of opinions, even if those opinions are critical of the government, and even if one political faction or another may not agree with those opinions. And then, finally, for journalists to stick to professional standards. To report the facts. To overcome and reject efforts to buy their coverage.”

Geoffrey Pyatt has served as US Ambassador to Ukraine since 2013, and supported the Ukrainian revolution in 214. His previous diplomatic posts include Honduras, India, and Austria.

  Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, Information Warfare, Independent Journalism