European Federation of Journalists

Perugia Declaration for Ukraine: the targeting, torturing and killing of journalists must be stopped

Journalists and residents stand as smoke rises after an attack by Russian army in Odessa, on April 3, 2022. Picture credit: Bulent Kilic / AFP.

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its affiliates in Ukraine, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) and the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU), joined the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) to support Ukrainian journalists and all international journalists, including freelancers reporting from Ukraine, by signing the Perugia Declaration for Ukraine:

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has underlined once again the essential role of independent, ethical journalism in assisting citizens to make life-or-death decisions, informing the world, and holding the powerful to account.

As a powerful antidote to disinformation and propaganda that characterise hybrid warfare, and as a pillar of democracy upon which other freedoms and rights depend, journalism in Ukraine is undergoing a terrible assault.

The targeting, torturing, and killing of journalists is abhorrent and must be stopped. Those responsible must be held accountable and brought to justice under national and international law. Vicious online attacks against news organisations and individual journalists must also cease. We condemn Russia’s attacks on press freedom and freedom of expression in Ukraine in the strongest possible terms.

The safety and security of all journalists to report freely are essential to ensure that the world understands the reality and facts of the ongoing war, including the humanitarian consequences.

We stand in solidarity with all journalists and independent media covering Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

The greater the threat to Ukrainian journalists’ lives, livelihoods, and ability to do their jobs, the greater will be our efforts to support them. Funding, protective gear, equipment, housing, training, office space in foreign cities, and psychosocial support – we will do everything we can to support our Ukrainian colleagues’ ability to continue reporting and serving the urgent needs of their audiences.

A window of opportunity for journalism and journalists everywhere

In countries with access to independent sources of news, an often sceptical public are recognising the bravery, commitment and professionalism of journalists and media outlets, both Ukrainian and international. Even governments with hostile dispositions to free, independent media are being forced to acknowledge the vital role journalism plays in ensuring that the world sees the invasion of Ukraine for what it is. Tech companies too are waking up to the fact that not all information is equal, and that there is a moral imperative to give due prominence to professional, independent, public interest journalism.

This nascent, new-found and rekindled recognition of journalism’s value among the public and policy makers is fragile. Ukrainian reporters and international journalists reporting from Ukraine have earned a window of opportunity. The greatest leaps of progress are often made in times of crisis. We, collectively, cannot afford to squander it.

For the sake of the immediate future and safety of our Ukrainian colleagues, and the long term viability of independent, public interest journalism everywhere, this is a moment that we all need to rise to.

For the benefit of media and journalists everywhere, we:

  • Insist that states and armed groups must release all imprisoned and kidnapped journalists, including those detained or sentenced under the guise of prohibiting defamation or countering terrorism;
  • Acknowledge that many conflicts and crises have at times not received the united, rapid and sustained response that our collective conscience demands;
  • Affirm that field producers are journalists not “fixers” – their language skills, cultural and regional understanding and strong networks of contacts are crucial to international reporting and deserve the same rights, respect, support, social security and credit as all journalists covering conflicts.
  • Commit to intensifying our efforts to support journalists in conflict zones, in exile, and facing hardship everywhere, including independent media/journalists from Belarus and Russia who have been forced to flee their countries;
  • Russia’s crackdown on dissent; its attacks against press freedom; its intimidation of independent journalism – these actions are forcing journalists who remain committed to truth-telling and free speech into silence or exile. Russian people are being denied access to the truth.

To international media and journalists, we ask that you:

  • Where legally permitted, provide surplus personal protective equipment to organisations able to transport this to Ukraine;
  • Draw attention to the social insecurity of Ukrainian field producers and translators’ who help foreign media by providing them with proper pay, insurance and additional safety guarantees;
  • Wherever possible make safety training available to Ukrainian journalists and to all journalists, including freelancers reporting from Ukraine, and “show the same concern for the welfare and safety of freelancers, local journalists and media workers as they do for their staff” including providing the same protective equipment to Ukrainian colleagues as to international reporters;
  • Open your doors to displaced journalists and newsrooms. Give them somewhere to work from. Hire them if you can afford to;
  • Listen to the calls of Ukrainian colleagues to use appropriate and accurate language when reporting on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, consistent with the ethical standards of independent journalism;

To private and public donors and funders of professional journalism, we ask that you

  • Urgently increase and provide flexible financial support to media that produce independent, ethical journalism, enabling them to hire or keep paying reporters, editors, and producers who are reporting on the Russian invasion of Ukraine;
  • When you fund journalism, remember, journalism is a public good. It is an end in itself, a pillar of democracy upon which many other freedoms and rights depend. Do not undermine its independence by seeking to instrumentalise it as a tool of strategic communication or as a means to achieve other development objectives. Treat it with the respect it deserves and follow the well-established best practices and guidance on effective support to journalism;
  • Simplify the process of applying for funding in emergencies: Application forms must be in local languages and should not require large amounts of internet data by requiring numerous files to be uploaded;
  • Ensure that media and journalism are included in all aid coordination mechanisms;
  • Provide support not just for newsrooms, but individual journalists and freelancers from Ukraine, as well as via mechanisms of fellowships or content production projects;
  • Consider providing not only financial support, but also methodological and technical support. This can be the transfer of equipment for affected editors, training or publication of methodological materials.

To the EU, EU member states, members of the Media Freedom Coalition and all states that care about the right to freedom of expression and access to information to

  • Provide emergency visas and safe havens for Ukrainian journalists, as well as an independent journalists from Belarus and Russia, to re-establish their bases of operations and continue reporting;
  • Condemn and push back against the trend of criminalising journalism, a hallmark of creeping authoritarianism in many parts of the world. Journalism is not a crime;
  • Use all multilateral fora to defend the rights of journalists and advance their protection as civilians under international humanitarian law, particularly in the context of Russia’s war on Ukraine;
  • Contribute to all efforts to investigate and bring to justice cases of journalists targeted in this war.

To technology, telecoms, internet intermediaries and advertisers, we ask you to

  • Work with the media and journalism community to identify, protect and uplift independent, ethical journalism, fact-checking, and media literacy efforts;
  • Prevent automated takedowns of journalistic content documenting evidence of international crimes of aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious human rights violations. These need to be available for journalists, fact-checkers, investigators and other stakeholders to effectively bring perpetrators to account and end impunity. Strengthen transparency and notice procedures, expedite appeal and remedy;
  • Reverse commercial incentives – both through algorithms and content moderation policies – that discriminate against public-interest journalism’s ability to reach audiences and monetise high-quality content;
  • Work with advertisers to stop the use of blacklist technology to block ads from appearing next to journalism and news media stories that mention conflicts like Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic and other critical health and social issues;
  • Deliver internet accessibility to all: prioritise maintaining internet accessibility and connectivity, and promote the right to access information.

We continue to stand in solidarity with all journalists around the world who work in areas of conflict or where freedom of expression is limited, to deliver trusted information in the public interest.

Signatories (EFJ affiliates in bold):

  1. ACOS Alliance
  2. Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC)
  3. Ahval News
  4. Albanian Media Institute (AMI)
  5. Anglo-Magyar Training & Media
  6. ARTICLE 19
  7. Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo (Abraji)
  8. Association des journalistes européens – France
  9. Association Générale des Journalistes Professionnels de Belgique (AGJPB; AJP-VVJ), Belgium
  10. Association Luxembourgeoise des Journalistes Professionnels (ALJP), Luxembourg
  11. Association of Austrian Community Broadcasters
  12. Association of Caribbean Media Workers
  13. Association of Independent Press (API)
  14. Association of Professional Journalists of Albania (APJA), Albania
  15. BaleBengong (Indonesia)
  16. Baltic Internet Policy Initiative
  17. Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication
  18. BBC Media Action
  19. Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), Belarus
  20. Blueprint for Free Speech
  21. Border Center for Journalists and Bloggers
  22. Bundesverband Bürgermedien (bvbm) e. V.
  23. Bylines Networks Limited
  24. Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma
  25. Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF)
  26. CFI Medias
  27. Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ)
  28. Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD)
  29. Circular Initiatives Roadmap (CIR)
  30. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
  31. Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE)
  32. Community Media Solutions (CMS)
  34. CREOpoint
  35. Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), Croatia
  36. The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation
  37. Daraj Media
  38. Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma
  39. Detector Media, Ukraine
  40. Deutsche Journalistinnen- und Journalisten-Union (dju) in ver.di, Germany
  41. Deutscher Journalisten-Verband (DJV), Germany
  42. Digital Content Next
  43. Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ), The Netherlands
  44. DW Akademie
  47. Ethical Journalism Network (EJN)
  48. European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
  49. European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
  50. European Journalism Centre (EJC)
  51. Fathm
  52. Federación de Asociaciones de Periodistas de España (FAPE), Spain
  53. Finnish Foundation for Media and Development (Vikes)
  54. Free Press Unlimited (FPU)
  55. Fojo Media Institute
  56. Fundación Gabo
  57. Fondation Hirondelle
  58. Foundation “Souspilnist”, Ukraine
  59. Frontline Freelance Register
  60. Giangiacomo Ceresara, Communication Specialist, Arriva (Deutsche Bahn)
  62. Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)
  63. Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN)
  64. Global Youth & News Media
  65. The GroundTruth Project
  66. Hungarian Press Union (HPU), Hungary
  67. IFEX
  68. Impressum – Swiss Journalist’s Federation, Switzerland
  69. Independent Association of Georgian Journalists, Georgia
  70. Independent Journalism Center, Moldova
  71. Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS-NUNS), Serbia
  72. Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU), Ukraine
  73. Independent Trade Union of Journalist and Media Workers (SSNM), North Macedonia
  74. Institut Panos Grands Lacs
  75. Institute for Regional Media and Information (IRMI, Ukraine)
  76. Institute of Communication Studies
  77. Institute of Mass Information, Ukraine
  78. International Academy Serbia
  79. International Center for Journalists
  80. International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
  81. International Institute – International Media Center
  82. International Media Support (IMS)
  83. International Press Institute (IPI)
  84. Internews
  85. Internews Ukraine
  86. International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN)
  87. Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union (JMWU), Russia
  88. Journalists Trade Union of Azerbaijan (JuHI), Azerbaijan
  89. Jnomics Media
  90. Lithuanian Journalists Union (LZS), Lithuania
  91. Lviv Media Forum
  92. Maharat Foundation
  93. Magdalene
  94. Marko Marković, Director of Communications, NaftogazTeplo
  95. Media Association for Peace (MAP)
  96. Media Development Investment Fund
  97. Media Diversity Institute (MDI)
  98. Media Impact Funders
  99. Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
  100. MediaLab.NRW
  101. MediaSind – Romanian Trade Union of Journalists, Romania
  103. Mensagem de Lisboa
  104. Namibia Media Trust (NMT)
  105. National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), Ukraine
  106. NEO NEWS HD
  107. New Narratives
  108. Northern Studio
  109. One World Media
  110. Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)
  111. Outriders
  112. Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
  113. Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf)
  114. Paper Trail Media
  115. Press Workers Trade Union, Cyprus
  116. Public Interest Journalism Lab
  117. Public Interest News Foundation
  118. Public Media Alliance (PMA)
  119. Pulitzer Center
  120. Radio Ambulante Studios
  121. Radio Bullets
  122. Report for America
  123. Report for the World
  124. Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
  125. RIA Media Corporation (Ukraine)
  126. Samir Kassir Foundation – SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom
  127. Searchlight Development Action – Cameroon
  128. Sindicato dos Jornalistas, Portugal
  129. Social Weaver
  130. Society of Journalists, Poland
  131. South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)
  132. Stowarzyszenie Dziennikarzy Rzeczypospolitej Polskie (SDRP), Poland
  133. SyriaUntold
  134. Tanzania Media Practitioners Association
  135. TerminiTV
  136. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
  137. THE CITY
  138. The Fix Media
  139. The Frontline Club (The Frontline Club Charitable Trust)
  140. The Ukrainians Media
  141. The VII Foundation
  142. The University of Georgia
  143. Thomson Foundation
  144. Thomson Reuters Foundation
  145. Trade Union of Croatian Journalists (TUCJ), Croatia
  146. Transitions
  147. Turkish Association of Journalists (GCD), Turkey
  148. Vlaamse Vereniging van Journalisten (VVJ), Belgium
  149. Voxeurop
  150. Will Media
  151. Women4europe
  152. World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA)
  153. World Editors Forum
  154. The University of Georgia
  155. Union of Journalists in Finland, Finland
  156. Zamaneh Media
  157. (Belarus)

Add your organisation as a signature to the declaration using this very short sign up form.

Donate to the IFJ/EFJ Safety Fund for journalists in Ukraine