10th July 2023
By Wendy Collinson

Press Release: Truth-telling and defiance in the face of war: Report calls for fresh aid to journalism in Ukraine

— Report embargoed until 12:00 CEST Monday 10th July 2023 —

The frontline role of independent journalism in Ukraine needs greater international support says the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) in a special report on the country’s media situation launched this week.

The report, Ukraine media: defiance and truth-telling, which also includes a series of essays on the challenges facing media in the current conflict, was launched in Brussels today and makes a comprehensive set of recommendations to strengthen journalism in Ukraine.

“The courage of Ukraine journalists and news media is an inspiration to us all,” says Aidan White, President of the EJN and the report’s editor. “They play a crucial role in truth-telling and defence of the country. But they need more support.”

The report highlights how “the constant drumbeat of propaganda and the presence of disinformation poses deadly threats to media freedom in Ukraine.” 

At the same time the targeting and killing of journalists during the conflict by Russian forces and the obstacles facing reporters trying to get access to the frontlines poses unprecedented threats to journalism.  

White says the report highlights how the international community needs to make support for democracy and the freedom of journalists a top priority in the development of strategies for support for Ukraine both during the current conflict and once the war is over and peace is restored. 

Among the key recommendations are calls for:

A radical overhaul of journalism education across the country to modernise teaching of reporting and editing skills particularly related to use of information technology, embedding principles of ethical reporting and strengthening the capacity for investigative journalism;

Support for local media including fresh initiatives to counter propaganda, disinformation and the turmoil caused by war and the transformation of the media landscape;

Swift action to find and bring to justice those responsible for the killing and targeting of journalists to be held to account and brought to trial;

Restrictions on journalists’ access to conflict zones to be lifted;

New dialogues between the government and media support groups to strengthen the independence of journalism and to create an enabling environment for safe regulation of media;

More unified action within media to strengthen rules on transparency, ownership and journalistic independence.

The report, which was prepared with the assistance of the Evens Foundation, has highlighted the importance of international donor support for media and the networks of international media support that are raising funds and urgently needed help for Ukraine media.

It has also reinforced the importance of Ukraine’s home-grown efforts to build a professional journalistic landscape through the country’s ethics commission which despite the war continues to work to build support for independent journalism.

The report, which is embargoed until 12.00 midday CEST, will be launched at the Brussels Press Club on Monday, July 10 at 11.00 CEST. Chaired by EJN President and report editor, Aidan White. Panellists will feature media leaders from Ukraine, including Andrii Kulykov (Head of the Ukraine Ethics Commission) and Lina Kushch, (First Secretary of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine); Adeline Hulin (UNESCO Project Coordinator Freedom of Expression/EU Partnerships); Jeanne Cavelier (European Director, Reporters sans frontières); Jean-Paul Marthoz (human rights expert, writer and one of the essay authors) and Tom Law (Deputy Director, Global Forum for Media Development).

Register to attend the online launch of Ukraine media: defiance and truth-telling via Eventbrite

To request an advance copy of the embargoed report please contact [email protected]. The report will be publicly available on the EJN’s website, ethicaljournalismnetwork.org from midday on Monday 10th July 2023.

Notes for editors:

The Evens Foundation aims to contribute to the ideal of a resilient Europe that inspires people and communities toward a collective future of freedom, democracy and joy. Our current focus is on projects that explore youth engagement with democracy, youth mental well-being and defending against authoritarianism in Europe.

The Ethical Journalism Network is founded on the underlying belief that ethics and respect for human rights, particularly freedom of expression, are core elements of democracy. The EJN aims to strengthen the craft of journalism and to promote for the public benefit high ethical standards in media through education, training and the publication of useful research. We are a registered UK charity and are supervised by a Board of Trustees and an international network of advisors.