Civil Network OPORA Builds Outreach Through Innovative Media Partnerships in Ukraine

Since the Revolution of Dignity in 2013-2014, Ukraine has seen five national election campaigns: two presidential and two parliamentary, as well as local election campaigns nationwide. During this time, the country has also experienced post-revolutionary political instability, the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, and an ongoing Russian-backed armed conflict in the Donbass while working to further democratic governance.

Throughout, OPORA has led voter education campaigns and election monitoring activities to support the country’s young democracy. In 2019, OPORA and international observers determined that presidential and snap parliamentary elections were credible, though observers identified violations throughout the electoral process. As part of their voter education efforts, OPORA conducted robust campaigns in partnership with local media networks. The 2019 awareness raising campaign was the most successful in the organization’s 14-year history, which saw three times the number of mentions on traditional and social media as compared to the 2014 campaign.

OPORA employed comedy and storytelling techniques for critical voter education
OPORA employed comedy and storytelling techniques for critical voter education (Photo: OPORA)

A key factor in the success of these campaigns was OPORA’s innovative partnerships with media networks. The organization collaborated with the StarLightMedia media: a group made up of three television channels, Zinc Network, hromadske.ua and Channel 24, in a joint initiative to produce and disseminate content. Through this partnership, OPORA developed short clips to educate viewers on different aspects of the electoral process. OPORA’s communications unit provided thematic guidance, presented by journalists and comedians, that explored polling station violations, voter intimidation, and messaging to encourage voter turnout. Many videos broke down complex topics by comparing them with foul play in sports and using other relatable scenarios. A pilot who has to execute an unscheduled forced landing upon the request of the passengers’ delegate was used as a metaphor for the snap parliamentary elections, for example, while journalists had to try a ride on various types of bicycles to explain differences between electoral systems. Using these creative formats and partnerships, OPORA reached 6 million viewers on social media in the last election cycle. By engaging a broad range of the population, the organization continues to build trust, grow awareness, and mobilize citizens to participate in the democratic process in Ukraine.

Read more about OPORA’s voter education efforts on traditional and social media on their website!