The project “Propaganda diary” on disinformation about Ukraine in German and Italian media is based on methodology. Here you can get the information about our methods and policies.

White and black lists of media

First, to form the database on disinformation it was necessary to identify key media outlets in relevant countries and distinguish credible sources from questionable ones. Thus, we created white and black lists of media in Germany and Italy.

Media on the white list are high-quality media providing reliable information about Ukraine’s foreign and domestic policies. On the contrary, sources on the black list spread fake news about Ukraine on a regular basis.

To differentiate sources and create these lists we used the following criteria:

  • Content. All media outlets, either on the white list or on the black list, regularly report news and publish analytical articles about politics, international relations, Ukraine in particular.
  • Professional standards. The high-quality media on the white list must meet the journalistic standards: comprehensiveness and impartiality of news coverage; objectivity and emotional neutrality; balance of opinions; availability and reliability of information sources; separation of facts and comments. Media on the black list constantly neglect these standards when reporting about Ukraine.
  • Ownership and transparency. The media must publicly report about its owner, funding, and possible conflict of interest. For example, some Italian and German media are directly linked to Russian state-owned news agencies. Thus, such media will most likely spread disinformation about Ukraine.
  • Results of media monitoring from Media Bias / Fact Check. We selected some of the media according to the resource Media Bias / Fact Check, an independent website that rates the bias, factual accuracy, and credibility of sources. According to this resource, the selected media on the black list have a very low or mixed level of factual reporting. The media on the white list are rated at the least biased sources and have a high level of factual reporting.
  • Results of media monitoring from EUvsDisinfo. In addition, we used EUvsDisinfo databases on Germany and Italy, as well as cases of fake distribution recorded by German and Italian fact-checkers, who signed the IFCN Code of Principle. EUvsDisinfo is the project of the European External Action Service’s East StratCom Task Force. It was established specifically to monitor and counter the Russian disinformation campaigns in Europe.
  • Results of our own media monitoring. When selecting media for monitoring, we have focused on the quality of reporting about Ukraine. The sources that published Russian disinformation previously were added to the black list.
  • Consultations with German and Italian fact-checkers and journalists. We also sought advice from colleagues working in Germany and Italy. Representatives from different organizations advised us to pay attention to some media which were previously spreading fake news.

Disinformation narratives

The database consists of hundreds of manipulative news reports from German and Italian media. To categorize this dataset we classNameified news reports into dangerous and destabilizing narratives of the Russian disinformation campaign.

Different news reports are examples of a single disinformation narrative when they convey the same message, either explicit or hidden, intended to influence public opinion in relevant countries by distorting the picture of reality. All the narratives in the database are typical messages for the Russian disinformation campaign against Ukraine. For instance, “Ukraine is continuing military buildup in Donbas” and “Ukraine is violating the ceasefire regime” can be clear examples of the narrative “Ukraine fails to deliver commitments under the Minsk Agreements”, as they have the same meaning and purpose in terms of disinformation.

There are also subtypes of disinformation narratives. These subtypes specify the general narrative. For example, “The U.S. organized coup d'état in Ukraine in 2014” is a subtype of the narrative “Maidan in 2014 was a coup d'état”.

However, it is often impossible to identify the exact motives of authors, who participated in spreading fake news. Therefore we cannot confirm that all these authors and media spread disinformation about Ukraine on purpose. At the same time narratives in these media are similar or almost identical to those spread by the Russian Federation officials.

Types of disinformation

Disinformation is false or misleading information spread to influence public opinion and/or obscure the truth. It is frequently used deliberately as a tool in information warfare. In the case of the Ukraine-Russia war, disinformation is used to distort facts about Ukraine’s foreign and domestic policies and to create a negative image of Ukraine in the media and international politics.

During the evaluation of the German and Italian media from the black list we render the following verdicts for each disinformation material:

  • Fake: the information is completely false and based on questionable sources.
  • Manipulation: the information is partly true, but presented in a distorted context or not completely. The author of the manipulation is trying to convey a false message.
  • Conspiracy theory: the information is false, but it is based on completely non-fact-checkable claims, i.e. some theories that explain events as a result of a secret plot.

These types of disinformation are common methods of the Russian campaigns against Ukraine. The most common topics among its disinformation narratives are:

  • the Euromaidan/the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine;
  • annexation of Crimea;
  • the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war in Donbas;
  • historic events, especially connected with the history of Ukraine-Russia relations;
  • relations of Ukraine with the U.S., NATO, EU and other partners;
  • reforms in Ukraine;
  • Ukraine’s economy;
  • “nazis and ultra-nationalists” in Ukraine;
  • conspiracy theories about “external governance” in Ukraine, i.e. influence of the West on Ukraine’s foreign and domestic policies.

Fact-checking process

Authors of VoxCheck follow a transparent policy during fact-checking and debunking Russian disinformation about Ukraine. In our articles, we provide all sources for review in sufficient detail so that readers can reproduce our work, except when the personal security of the source may be compromised. In such cases, we provide the most detailed information. The quality of fact-checking is ensured by the project's editorial board.

VoxCheck as a signatory of the IFCN Code of principles abides by the commitments to:

  • non-partisanship and fairness;
  • standards and transparency of sources;
  • transparency of funding and organization;
  • standards and transparency of methodology;
  • open and honest corrections policy.

You can find additional information about our policies and principles on our official website.

Primary sources of fact-checked information about Ukraine

#SourceDescriptionLink to website
1State Statistics Service of UkraineThe State Statistics Service of Ukraine (Gosstat) is a specially authorized central executive body in the field of statistics, whose activities are directed and coordinated by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and which ensures the formation and implementation of state policy in the field of statistics.http://www.ukrstat.gov.ua/
2The Presidential Office of UkraineThe duties of the Office are to provide administrative, legal, consultative, advisory, media, analytical and other assistance to the President when exercising authorities.https://www.president.gov.ua/en
3The Security Service of UkraineThe Security Service of Ukraine is the main security agency of Ukraine. Its main priorities are counterintelligence, protection of national statehood, counterterrorism, protection of informational security, protection of state secrets.https://ssu.gov.ua/en
4National Security and Defense Council of UkraineThe National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine is the coordinating body in matters pertaining to national security and defense under the President of Ukraine.https://www.rnbo.gov.ua/en/
5Center for Countering Disinformation (UA only)The Center for Countering Disinformation is a working body of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. The Center provides measures to counter current and projected threats to national security and national interests of Ukraine in the information sphere.https://cpd.gov.ua/
6The Government of UkraineThe Government of Ukraine or The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine is the highest body of state executive power in Ukraine. The body consist of Prime Minister of Ukraine, vice prime ministers and other ministers from different institutions. The prime minister presides over the cabinet.https://www.kmu.gov.ua/en
7Verkhovna Rada of UkraineThe Verkhovna Rada is the parliament of Ukraine.It is the sole organ of legislative power in Ukraine.The parliament consists of 450 deputies elected by Ukrainian people.https://www.rada.gov.ua/en
8State Treasury Service of UkraineThe State Treasury Service of Ukraine is the central executive body of Ukraine that implements the state policy in the field of treasury service of budget funds. The activities of the service are directed and coordinated by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine through the Minister of Finance of Ukraine.https://www.treasury.gov.ua/en
9State Tax Service of UkraineThe State Tax Service of Ukraine is the central executive body in the field of taxes in Ukraine. The activities of the service are directed and coordinated by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine through the Minister of Finance. The service implements the national tax policy and national policy in the field of combating offenses during the application of tax legislationhttps://tax.gov.ua/en/
10Custom Service of UkraineThe State Customs Service of Ukraine is the central executive body of Ukraine, which implements the national customs policy and the national policy in the field of combating offenses during the application of the legislation on national customs affairs. The activities of the service are directed and coordinated by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine through the Minister of Finance.https://customs.gov.ua/en
11State Border Guard Service of UkraineThe State Border Guard Service of Ukraine is law enforcement agence charged with the tasks of ensuring inviolability of state borders and protection of sovereign rights of Ukraine within its exclusive (maritime) economic zone.https://dpsu.gov.ua/en/ ​​
12National Bank of UkraineThe National Bank of Ukraine is a government body responsible for unified state policy in the field of country's monetary circulation, including strengthening of the national currency unit. Its mission is to ensure price and financial stability, with the goal of contributing to Ukraine’s sustainable economic development.https://bank.gov.ua/en/
13Ministry of Digital transformation of Ukraine (UA only)Ministry of Digital transformation of Ukraine is a governmental body. Its main goal is to promote digitalisation in Ukraine, especially infrastructure development, creation of favorable environment for IT sector, and promotion of digital literacy.https://thedigital.gov.ua/
14Ministry of Finance of UkraineThe Ministry of Finance of Ukraine is responsible for the formation and implementation of the following key areas of government policy: budgetary policy, tax and customs policy, debt policy. international financial cooperation. The mission of the Ministry is to provide financial basis for the proper delivery of public functions supported by a well-balanced budgetary policy as well as to create favorable conditions for a stable economic development.https://mof.gov.ua/en
15Ministry of Defense of UkraineThe Ministry of Defense of Ukraine is the main (leading) body in the system of central executive bodies to ensure the implementation of state policy in the field of defense. It participates in the implementation of state policy on defense and military construction, coordination of activities of state bodies and local governments to prepare the state for defense.https://www.mil.gov.ua/en/
16Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of UkraineThe Defence Intelligence of Ukraine conducts intelligence in the defence, development of military capability, military and military-technical as well as cybersecurity areas.https://gur.gov.ua/en.html
17Ministry for Reintegration of the Temporary Occupied Territories of UkraineThe Ministry of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories is government ministry in Ukraine, which solves the tasks of prompt response to problems and threats associated with the conduct of an anti-terrorist operation in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as with the temporary occupation of the territory of Ukraine.https://minre.gov.ua/en
18Decentralization in UkraineDecentralization reform is the official website for reform. Decentralization means delegating considerable authority and budgets from the state bodies to local authoritieshttps://decentralization.gov.ua/en/
19Ministry of Social Policy of UkraineThe Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine is the Ukrainian government department responsible for instituting labor relations, family and children, immigration and trafficking, women's rights, children's rights, and humanitarian aid.https://www.msp.gov.ua/en/
20Ministry for Communities and Territories Development of UkraineThe Ministry for Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine (MinRegion) carries out state regulation in architecture, construction, and urban planning. The Ministry`s priority tasks are developing and improving regulation in architecture, construction, and urban planning, considering EU legislation requirements in relevant areas, simplifying permitting procedures, and implementing new technologies.https://www.minregion.gov.ua/en/
21Ministry of Ecology and Environment Protection of UkraineMinistry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine is a central executive authority activity of which is governed and coordinated by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Ministry of Ecology and Natural resources operates in the field of environmental protection, ecological safety, treatment of waste, hazardous chemicals, pesticides and agricultural chemicals and perform state ecological expertise.https://mepr.gov.ua/en/
22Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine (UA only)The Ministry of Energy and Coal provides the formulation and implementation of the state policy in the electric power, nuclear-industrial, coal-industrial, peat-mining, oil and gas and oil-and-gas processing complexes, and also provides the formation of the state policy in the sphere of supervision (control) in the power and heat power industries.http://mpe.kmu.gov.ua/
23Ministry of Health of UkraineThe Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine is the main healthcare body in the system of central government. It is based on former Ministries of Healthcare.The Ministry of Health of Ukraine organizational structure is composed of nine directorates, four departments, three divisions, four sectors and patronage service.https://en.moz.gov.ua/
24State Enterprise Center of Public Health of the Ministry of Health of UkraineState Enterprise Center of Public Health of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine it is a health care institution responsible for maintaining and improving the health of the population, social and hygienic monitoring of diseases, epidemiological surveillance and biosafety, group and population prevention of diseases, control of epidemics and strategic management in the field of public health.https://phc.org.ua/
25National Health Service of UkraineThe National Health Service of Ukraine (NHSU) is the central executive body that implements state policy in the field of state financial guarantees for heathcare servising of the population. Activities of the NHSU are directed and coordinated by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine through the Minister of Health.https://nszu.gov.ua/en
26Ministry of Economy of UkraineThe Ministry of Economy is a leading agency within the system of Ukraine’s government agencies and institutions, responsible for implementation of the uniform government policy of national and regional economic and social development and cooperation with the European Union.https://www.me.gov.ua/?lang=en-GB
27Ministry of Education and Science of UkraineThe Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine is the central executive public body in the system of Ukrainian government responsible for developing, implementation and monitoring nation-wide policies in the areas of education and science.https://mon.gov.ua/eng
28Ministry of Justice of UkraineThe Ministry of Justice is a central state executive body and the main body among the central executive authorities responsible for the implementation of state law policy. In the established manner and within its terms of reference, the Ministry resolves issues arising from the generally accepted norms of international law and the international treaties ratified by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.https://minjust.gov.ua/en/
29Ministry of Culture and Informational Policy of UkraineThe Ministry of Culture and Information Policy is the main state authority in the system of central government of Ukraine responsible for country's cultural development and history preservation.https://mkip.gov.ua/en/
30Centre for Strategic CommunicationCentre for Strategic Communication was established under the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine as one of the mechanisms for countering disinformation by joint efforts of the state and civil society. The Centre is focused on communication that is aiming to counter external threats, in particular information attacks of the Russian Federation.https://spravdi.gov.ua/en/
31Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of UkraineThe Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine forms and implements the state agricultural policy, state policy in the domains of agriculture and food security of the state, protection of plant variety rights, animal husbandry, plant cultivation, rural development and other areas of agro-industrial complex.https://minagro.gov.ua/en
32Ministry of Internal Affairs of UkraineThe ministry carries out state policy for the protection of rights and liberties of citizens, investigates unlawful acts against the interest of society and state, fights crime, provides civil order, ensures civil security and traffic safety, and guarantees the security and protection of important individuals.https://mvs.gov.ua/en
33Ministry of Infrastructure of UkraineThe Ministry of Infrastructure is the central body of executive power in the areas of transport, roads, postal service and infrastructure.https://mtu.gov.ua/en/
34Ministry of Foreign Affairs of UkraineThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine is the main body in the system of central executive bodies in the formation and implementation of state policy in the field of foreign relations of Ukraine.https://mfa.gov.ua/en
35National Anti-сorruption BureauThe National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine is a central executive agency with a special status responsible for preventing, detecting, terminating, investigating, and disclosing corruption and other criminal offences within its jurisdiction, as well as preventing the commission of new ones.https://nabu.gov.ua/en
36National Agency on Corruption PreventionThe National Agency on Corruption Prevention is a central executive body with a special status. It is responsible for the development of anti-corruption policy and prevention of corruption.https://nazk.gov.ua/en/
37Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's OfficeThe Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Offic is an independent structural unit of the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, and is primarily responsible for supporting and overseeing criminal investigations launched by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.No link
38UkrzaliznytsiaUkrzaliznytsia accomplishes centralized management of the transportation process in inland and interstate communication regulates railway industrial and economic activity.https://www.uz.gov.ua/en/
39Pension Fund of Ukraine (UA only)The Pension Fund of Ukraine is a central executive body that manages a solidarity system of compulsory state pension provision, collects, accumulates and records insurance premiums, allocates pensions and prepares documents for their payment, provides timely and full financing and payment pensions, burial assistance and other social benefits.https://www.pfu.gov.ua/
40NaftogazNaftogaz is the largest state-owned company in Ukraine. It engages in a full cycle of field exploration and development, production and exploration drilling, storage of oil and gas, processing and distribution of oil products, natural gas and liquefied gas to consumers.https://www.naftogaz.com/en/
41UkrposhtaSC Ukrposhta is the only national postal operator in Ukraine. It is the country’s main postal service.https://www.ukrposhta.ua/en
42Office of the Prosecutor GeneralThe Office of the Prosecutor General is the central body in the prosecution system. It organizes and coordinates the activities of all bodies of the prosecution system.https://www.gp.gov.ua/en
43National Guard of Ukraine (UA only)The National Guard of Ukraine. is the Ukrainian national gendarmerie and internal military force. It is part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, responsible for public security.https://ngu.gov.ua/