UARU
Ukraine's iArmy 'Not Trolls, Just Messengers,' Ministry Of Information Says
16 March, 2015

Ukraine's iArmy is not an official army of Internet trolls, rather it is a group of messengers who will convey the Ukrainian perspective on various issues, said Tetiana Popova, the Deputy Minister of Information and an adviser to the Minister of Defense.

The ministry also plans to create more information channels in Ukraine's Donbas region, said Popova.

However, they face the huge challenge of gaining local trust, especially as representatives of the government in Kyiv, pointed out Oksana Romaniuk from Reporters without Borders. While locals in the Donbas region are inclined to believe members of the local press, they greet any news from media in Kyiv with suspicion, explained Romaniuk.

In a controversial move, Ukraine's parliament voted to create a Ministry of Information last December. The measure was slipped into Ukraine's budget at the end of the 2014 calendar year.

The Minister of Information, Yuriy Stets, is a close friend of President Petro Poroshenko. Stets also worked for many years on Channel 5, which is owned by Poroshenko.

Hromadske International's Ian Bateson and Nataliya Gumenyuk spoke with Popova and Romaniuk on Sunday, March 15, 2015.