RSF and Free Press Unlimited join efforts to support at-risk Ukrainian journalists

Journalists at work in Ukraine

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to be backed by an information war, the two international press freedom organisations for the promotion of journalism are entering a partnership on the Lviv Press Freedom Centre and the Media Lifeline Ukraine initiative to bring coordinated and efficient support to Ukrainian journalists and media at risk.

Two leading NGOs in the field of journalism join efforts to support Ukrainian journalists. This is vital now that communication lines are severed, journalists face hardship to report and whilst censorship prevents audiences in neighbouring countries from access to fact based, verified and relevant content. 

Cooperation is vital now and will continue to be in future, in order to provide ongoing support the courageous journalists and independent media outlets who are informing the public about the war in Ukraine. Coordination assures avoiding overlap and creates a central access point for Ukrainian journalists and media (but also for journalists / media from the region) to go to for support.

The Paris based international press freedom organisation Reporters without Borders (RSF) will cooperate with the Amsterdam based Free Press Unlimited (FPU), specialised in media development, in order to support Ukrainian media and journalists and to keep reliable information available. FPU will contribute to the activities of the Lviv Press Freedom Centre, and RSF will mobilise its support for Media Lifeline Ukraine.

On 4 March, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) announced it would be launching the Press Freedom Centre, in Lviv, Western Ukraine, together with its local partner, the Institute for Mass Information (IMI). The Lviv Press Freedom Centre aims to serve as a reception and distribution hub for protective equipment for journalists, particularly ballistic vests and helmets, which are currently in short supply. This physical and digital centre will also provide resources to journalists seeking financial or psychological assistance and will launch an accompanying digital portal to channel requests and evaluate needs.

On 4 March, Free Press Unlimited (FPU) launched the Media Lifeline Ukraine initiative, with support of Dutch media stakeholders. Media Lifeline Ukraine aims to secure the free flow of information for the public in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries. Media Lifeline is a one stop shop, to respond to all the needs of partners and journalists in Ukraine and beyond, for the longer term. 

“Unprecedented crises require unprecedented alliances,” said Christophe Deloire, Secretary-General of RSF. “FPU and RSF share the same values and missions and our teams are devoted to responding to the needs of Ukrainian and international reporters covering the war. Uniting our strengths will enable us to go further and quicker.”

People in Ukraine need to know where it is safe to go and where attacks are expected. International audiences - including the policymakers and politicians deciding on sanctions and relations with Russia and Ukraine - need to be informed on what is happening. Whether civilians are attacked or whether parties adhere to cease fires.” says Ruth Kronenburg, Director of Operations at Free Press Unlimited.

The two organisations call on donors to contribute to this effort in the coming weeks to ensure all needs are covered and that procurement, shipment and distribution is materialised.


Photo by Raphael Lafargue/ABACAPRESS.COM

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