ARCHIVES Danyliw Seminar 2018
University of Cambridge (UK)
Dr.Taras Fedirko is a political anthropologist at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge. As part of the European Research Council-funded project “Situating free speech: European parrhesia in comparative perspective,” he completed a year-long ethnographic fieldwork in Kyiv, regarding public broadcasters in the post-Maidan periods. This fieldwork explores the roles of free, controlled, compelled, and manipulated speech in Ukraine’s information war. Previously, Dr. Fedirko was awarded a PhD in Anthropology at the University of Durham. His thesis examined the impact of lobbying on the British civil service.
Money and free speech in Ukrainian journalism
Dr. Taras Fedirko
In Ukraine, news is often a powerful instrument--and one confined to the hands of media channel owners or the highest bidders. Accordingly, tensions between the moral value of freedom and the economic value of speech structure the professional lives of journalists. This paper examines Hromadske, an independent public broadcaster in post-Maidan Kyiv, at a moment of rising political and financial pressures. Through this case study, the paper explores how reporters seek to demonstrate that their work is governed by immaterial meanings, rather than material transactions, in their pursuit to have their speech recognized as sincere and autonomous. Therefore, this paper argues that actualizing the value of free speech hinges on separation—that of words from money and that of persons and organisations from the larger economy. Such material negotiations of free speech, this paper states, are best captured through the notion of negative freedom. By investigating how negative freedom is pursued in the context of elite journalism in Kiev, this paper illuminates the changing values of freedom and autonomy in post-Maidan Ukraine.