Our work in Ukraine
Over the past decade, Ukraine has become a regional leader in journalism and press freedom. The country enacted an ambitious press freedom reform programme including a law on transparency of media ownership and the creation of an independent public broadcaster. Now, after Russia's invasion, the future of the country and of the independent media is precarious and uncertain.
For many years, Free Press Unlimited has been active in supporting independent press in Ukraine. Free Press Unlimited stands in solidarity with all journalists and independent media outlets who defend the right of Ukrainians, as well as the citizens of all neighbouring nations, to receive trustworthy, accurate and timely information on current events. This is why, following the invasion, we have scaled up our aid and support for journalists in danger. It is becoming increasingly clear to us that in order to maintain the flow of reliable information in and around the country, support will be needed for the longer term.
In Ukraine, Free Press Unlimited works with three independent media outlets. Each and every one of them are independent media groups in Ukraine that are active nationally, but also regionally and specifically in the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine, and are engaged in independent reporting and investigative journalism. They are currently providing much-needed balanced coverage of the war.
During the increasingly escalating situation we have been in close contact with our partners on the ground. In the past few weeks, we were able to help them so far with safety training, emergency kits, alternative housing and evacuation. Now we are thinking more about the provision of longer term support.
At the moment, most of our partners' employees are moving to a safer part of the country. Some journalists have already left the country due to the increasing danger, while others have indicated that they want to stay put for the time being. It is a priority that people continue to receive reliable information from Ukraine now and in the future, and we are working hard on that with our partners.
Reliable information in Russian
Ukraine is a country with bilingual media (Ukrainian and Russian) that often overlap. Now, pretty much all information that comes from within Russia is at the least unreliable, and more often plain state propaganda, it is very important that independent information in the Russian language remains available. For the Russian citizens, but also for the Russian speakers in nearby countries. That is why surrounding media partners in neighboring countries are committed to continuing the flow of reliable information by (also) reporting in Russian.
We will continue
We will continue to support our partners where we can in this difficult time and in future. Protecting journalists, bringing them to safety, and providing the means to continue to provide reliable and independent information is difficult, and requires persistence and creativity. But it is what we are here to do: because their work is indispensable.
Photo: Irina Boldina