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The Detector Media NGO has conducted an in-house quantitative study, the Ukrainian Media Literacy Index, which measures the level of critical perception and attitude of Ukrainians towards information and their ability to use the media. The results of the fourth wave of the study, which covered 2023, offer insight into how Ukrainians' media literacy was affected by the second year of full-scale war. The first and second waves of the survey were conducted in 2020 and 2021, and the third wave in 2022 and early 2023. 

The media literacy index was measured both for the general population and for certain population groups (based on age, gender, place of residence, education, etc.). The model of the media literacy index was based on Len Masterman's concept and the results of the qualitative stage of the study "Media Consumption Among Ukrainians: Conceptualization of the Audience’s Media Literacy Index", prepared by Marta Naumova, a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, at the request of the NGO Detector Media in January 2020.

To assess the level of media literacy, respondents were asked a list of questions divided into four categories: Understanding the role of media in society, the extent of its influence, understanding the work of the media industry and perception of the Ukrainian media landscape, awareness of media regulation, and attitudes towards public broadcasting.

Personal use of media — the number of information sources used by respondents, the length of time they read the news per day, etc.;Digital competence — understanding of the peculiarities of the functioning and terminology of new media, digital security skills, and creation of own media content;Sensitivity to media content — to disinformation/fake news, hidden advertising, paid-for materials, and manipulations.The media literacy index was assessed on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is the lowest level, 10 is the highest, and 5 is the average.Detailed results of the study can be found in the report (in the presentation below).  


■ The level of the overall media literacy index has changed significantly over the past year: the share of the audience with an above-average level of the indicator decreased from 81% to 76%. 

■ The indicator of the subindex of understanding the role of media in society has not changed significantly compared to the previous year, 2022. The sensitivity of Ukrainians to distorted content has increased: the share of the audience with a higher-than-average score has increased from 65% to 70%.

■ The share of the audience with high and above-average digital competence decreased from 64% to 55% (2022 vs. 2023) 

■ The media literacy level depends on age, level of education, income, and place of residence. 

  •  It is quite predictable that the media literacy level is high among young people aged 18-25 (due to the digital competence subindex) and low among the older age group of 56-65. 
  • The lower the educational status, the lower the media literacy level. Thus, among respondents with general secondary education, the share of people with low and below-average levels is 29%, and among those with complete/incomplete higher education, it is only 13%. 
  • Significant differences in the level of media literacy are observed between people with different financial status. The higher the level of income, the higher the index score. Among the category of those who have enough money only for food (low level of income), 37% have low and below average scores. In contrast, among those who have enough money for everything and save money (above average income), this share is only 18%. 
  • Residents of large cities have a higher index score than rural residents. 


■ Over the past year, the understanding of the role of the media in society has not changed significantly. The majority of the audience (70%) believes that the main mission of the media is to inform citizens about socially significant events. 

■ General shifts in the understanding of media influence among the Ukrainian audience over the past two years can be explained by the main topic of media content – emotionally difficult messages related to the war. The proportion of those who state that the media influences their emotional state has increased by 11% compared to 2021. 

■ As traditional media stories have been almost completely replaced by war-related content, consumers report a decrease in the media's influence on their attitudes toward public figures and the choice of goods and services. 

■ The share of Ukrainians who believe that the media works in the interests of the state and society as a whole has decreased over the past year from 31% to 25% and from 15% to 12%. 

■ The largest share of the audience (30%) believes that the media works in the interests of their owners and investors. 

■ The share of those who consider the telethon format to be fully justified during the war has decreased from 58% to 41% over the year. 74% state that due to the lack of different points of view on the events in the telethon, they look for information from other sources.

■ Every second Ukrainian (49%) supports criticizing the government in the media. This audience is dominated by men and older people. This opinion is more often supported by people with low educational status and income. 17% do not support public criticism of the government.


■ The share of the audience who are confident that public service media work in Ukraine is 54%. It has decreased compared to the previous year, 2022 (60%). One in five (22%) believes there are no independent broadcasters in the country. The same share (23%) could not answer the question unequivocally. 

■ The absolute majority (76%) emphasize the importance of the existence of public service media, as they work in the interests of the whole society, not just the owner (52%); they cover topics that are not of interest to commercial media, such as social issues, culture, and science (9%); and public service media are not interested in manipulation (15%). 

■ The share of those who are not interested in the development of public broadcasting is 16%. According to 12% of respondents, the media cannot be independent; another 4% believe that public service media are inferior to commercial media in terms of quality and professionalism. 

■ Among the changes in Ukrainians' media preferences over the past year, we can note a strong increase in interest in Ukrainian-made products and those dedicated to Ukrainian history and culture; content on socio-political topics; and materials by military experts. 

■ At the same time, 69% to 79% have completely abandoned Russian-made media products (including music), as well as official and opposition socio-political content. 


■ Compared to 2022, the number of consumers of socio-political content in messengers increased in 2023 (49% vs. 55%); 

■ The number of people who receive information about socio-political news from friends, neighbors, and colleagues increased from 25% to 33%. 

■ The audience of social media remained virtually unchanged (62%). 

■ The audience of the United News national telethon accounted for 31% (compared to 41% in the previous year). 

■ Only 6% of Ukrainians do not use the Internet. 91% are heavy users of the network, accessing the Internet every day or almost every day. This is 3% more than in 2022. The dependence of Internet use frequency on age, education level, and income was quite expected. 

■ The smartphone is the absolute leader among Internet access devices, with 96% of users using it most often. A laptop (24%) and a desktop computer (10%) are in second place with a large margin. 12% most often use a tablet, and 8% use a smart TV.

 ■ The main motivations for using the Internet are still searching for information (74%) and reading news (75%). Compared to 2022, the share of the audience that uses the Internet for online shopping (27% vs. 34%) and payments (28% vs. 36%) has increased. 


■ 64% of the audience emphasized the significance of the problem of disinformation (compared to 61% in 2022). 18% said they can always identify fake news and ignore it. 

■ A high level of sensitivity to distorted content among Ukrainians can be noted. The audience is becoming more competent in identifying fake information. Thus, only 17% decide how much to trust a message intuitively. The share of Ukrainians who detect disinformation by looking for a link to a source in a story is 37%, 30% are guided by video/photo evidence, and 34% by the presence of different points of view on an event. 

■ The number of Ukrainians who check more than 15% of information for accuracy increased from 24% to 33% over the year. And the share of those who never check media content decreased from 31% to 26% over the year.

 ■ The problem of manipulation in the media is relevant for more than half of the Ukrainian audience (59%); 15% consider it irrelevant; 14% heard about manipulation in the media for the first time, and 5% are undecided.

 ■ 43% suspect manipulation when a story covers only one side of an event; for 41%, incomplete or inaccurate information is an important marker. For 37%, the absence of references to the source would raise suspicion of the authors' desire to manipulate the audience's minds. Only 19% identify a manipulative message intuitively. 

■ According to the audience, media content is most often distorted in the interests of politicians and political forces to promote their positive image (68%), and economic and political elites: influence groups, oligarchs (41%). Over the past year, the share of those who believe that it is the state that is interested in distorting information has increased from 22% to 32%. 


■ The problem of hidden advertising in the media remains relevant for more than half of the audience (57%); 16% consider it irrelevant because this is the first time they have heard of “dzhynsa” (21% in 2022). 

■ 50% suspect dzhynsa when a story only highlights positive or negative aspects of a person, group, or product; for 28%, an important marker is the fact that the story can promote recognition of a person, organization, or product. 28% of the audience identify hidden advertising intuitively. The respondents also pay attention to the presence of evaluations, positive or negative (22%). 


■ Ukrainians are suspicious of most media outlets and trust them only partially. Over the past year, trust in almost all sources of information, from television to messengers, has significantly decreased. 

Research methodology  

4 Purpose of the study: to validate the media literacy index concept and calculate it for different categories of the Ukrainian audience. 

Methodology: quantitative research using face-to-face interviews with a standardized questionnaire on a tablet (CAPI). 

Geography: a national study. 

Sample size: 1,200 respondents. 

Target audience: adult population of Ukraine (18+). 

Sample type: representative in terms of age, gender, settlement size, and region.The survey was not conducted on the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson regions and in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

You can download the PDF version of the report here.

The study was conducted with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (DANIDA).

NGO “Detector Media” has been working for our readers for over 20 years. In times of elections, revolutions, pandemics and war, we continue to fight for quality journalism. Our experts develop media literacy of the audience, advocate for the rights of journalists, and refute Russian disinformation.

“Detector Media” resumes the work of our Community and invites those who believe that the media should be better: more professional, truthful and transparent.


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