The 2013-2014 Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine opened up opportunities for a series of important institutional reforms, including the reform of the Constitution. While the constitutional reform involved changes in three areas, only one of them, namely the amendments in the area of de-centralisation, attracted significant media coverage. The changes in the area of judiciary and human rights have gained little media attention.
Ukraine’s government has rarely managed to communicate reforms effectively, DRI’s latest working paper says. Only 9% of Ukrainians are satisfied with the way the government communicates its activities to the society.
The working paper takes stock of the communication initiatives and campaigns undertaken by the Ukrainian government and civil society groups to communicate the substance of the proposed constitutional changes to the public, and explores the cases of successful communication of reform initiatives from other countries. The chances of long-term success of the governance reforms are higher if stakeholders inside and outside government are engaged in the reform process early on, the authors point out.
The paper puts forward a number of recommendations for developing a comprehensive strategy for communicating the governance reforms:
- Consult with stakeholders when crafting the reforms to build ownership and create public dialogue platforms for subsequent use during implementation.
- Ensure that the entity leading the reform spearheads communications.
- Support the relevant minister or official to champion the reform proactively inside and outside of government.
- Develop a communication strategy for each reform, tailored to the schedule of the process.
- Begin communication campaign planning at least six months before kick-off.
- Bring in professional communication strategists and copywriters to develop clear messages and content tailored to specific target groups.
- Allocate adequate funds for the communication strategy and campaign implementation.