Trade unions

The only national trade union in the sector is the Nezalezha media-profspilka Ukrayiny (Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine - IMTU). Established in 2002, the union obtained its legal status in 2005. As of today, it unites around 600 journalists and is a member of both the European and International Federation of Journalists. The union provides its members with free legal, psychological and financial support as well as supplies bulletproof vests and helmets to those working in hot spots. Also, starting from 2007, the Union has been publishing an annual rating called Enemies of the Press, based on monitoring violations of journalists’ rights and conducting surveys among them. After a series of internal conflicts in 2016, the union lost its former influence. As of May 2020, it does not have a permanent office, Sergei Shturkhetsky, a reputable journalist and teacher of journalism from the city of Rivne in western Ukraine, is trying to revive the union.

There is also the Natsionalna spilka zhurnalistiv Ukrayiny (National Union of Journalists of Ukraine - NUJU) established in 1959 and encompassing around 19,000 members according to own statements. While it defines itself as a national all-Ukrainian creative union as well as an independent non-profit and non-partisan NGO (formally, not a trade union), it is also listed as a member of both the European and International Federation of Journalists. Unlike the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine, funded exclusively through members’ contributions and charitable donations, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine is partially funded from the state budget. Also, part of the organization's budget is formed at the expense of income from the lease of premises in the center of Kyiv - these premises were received by the organization during Soviet Ukraine.

In 2014, in the wake of political crisis and at the outbreak of hostilities in the east of Ukraine, the two unions established Obiednaniy tsentr dopomogy zhurnalistam (Joint Centre for Providing Assistance to Journalists - JCPAJ). Its goal is to provide journalists affected by the said political crisis and hostilities with complex assistance and protection of their rights and security. 2014 can be called the peak of influence of these two organizations.

For different reasons, these organizations gradually lost their weight and credibility. The IMTU has been suffering from protracted and irreconcilable disagreements among its leadership whereas the NUJU, being dependent on budgetary funding, has been recurrently accused of a biased stand.