European Federation of Journalists

Increased support to journalists in Ukraine

An AFP journalist runs as smoke rises behind after a bombardment in Bakhmut, Eastern Ukraine, on July 31, 2022. Credit: Bulent Kilic / AFP.

The newly elected Steering Committee of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) was keen to organise an online meeting with the leaders and members of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU). The two organisations discussed the programme of support for Ukrainian journalists and its future developments.

The EFJ will focus its efforts on ensuring that assistance to Ukrainian journalists has long-term sustainable results. This is one of the main conclusions of the online meeting organised by NUJU, with the participation of Maja Sever, EFJ President, Ricardo Gutiérrez, EFJ General Secretary, Sergiy Tomilenko, NUJU President, Lina Kushch, First Secretary of NUJU and several members of the Steering Committee of the EFJ (Andrea Roth, Anna Del Freo, Pablo Aiquel, Marta Barcenilla, Allan Boye Thulstrup, Tim Dawson) and several secretaries of NUJU.

The participants discussed the outcomes of the cooperation between the EFJ, the IFJ and NUJU in supporting Ukrainian journalists during the large-scale war. In April, the IFJ and EFJ supported the creation of three journalistic solidarity centers in Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi, providing Ukrainian journalists with personal safety equipment and other emergency assistance.

The leaders of the EFJ were informed about the results of the centers’ work, as well as the main needs of Ukrainian journalists. As of August 1, the network of the Journalists’ Solidarity Centers is expanding to five. Two additional centers are opening: a joint Eastern-Ukrainian center with teams in Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro, as well as a center in Kyiv. This will make it possible to help journalists close to the front line and effectively coordinate all forms of support. This format of work is new for Ukraine and has fully justified itself during the previous three months.

Sergiy Tomilenko thanked the EFJ for its solidarity with the Ukrainian colleagues and the comprehensive support of journalists.

The participants to the meeting decided:

  1. To emphasize that the main goal of the cooperation of the EFJ with NUJU during the large-scale Russian aggression is to help Ukrainian journalists in increasing personal safety during work, in evacuation and resumption of work, in supporting independent media, in providing journalists with access to new knowledge and skills, as well as to emergency financial assistance.
  2. To support the work of three existing Journalists’ Solidarity Centers and the creation of two more centers from August 1, 2022, and ensure their capacity to operate until the end of 2022.
  3. To approve the initiative to implement the security component of the Ukrainian journalists’ support program: conducting offline training for media workers and freelancers, training of trainers, and preparation of educational video materials.
  4. To approve the allocation of funds (via the IFJ/EFJ Safety Fund for Journalists in Ukraine) for emergency material assistance to 100 journalists who suffered from the war.
  5. To emphasize that sustainability and long-term results should be the key criteria for the effectiveness of the projects supported by the EFJ in Ukraine.
  6. To encourage IFJ and EFJ affiliates and other donors (Unesco, Council of Europe…) to continue making contributions to the IFJ/EFJ Safety Fund for Journalists in Ukraine.
  7. To support NUJU initiative for the creation of the Ukrainian Media Support Fund and to take into account the negative impact of the war on the situation of the Ukrainian media. EFJ and NUJU will continue the practice of appeals to Ukrainian government officials, Ukrainian parliament, and European institutions to ensure the economic independence of Ukrainian media.
  8. To respond to any attempts by politicians to adopt legislation that limits the freedom and independence of the media in Ukraine, such as the draft Media law.
  9. To emphasize that any change to the legislation affecting the media in Ukraine should be discussed with journalists and journalistic organizations beforehand.

“The conversation that took place proved that the problems of Ukrainian journalists are much bigger than we imagined,” said EFJ President Maja Sever. “I am convinced that we have to make efforts to keep independent media so that they can survive. Such meetings should be continued to strengthen cooperation. At the same time, the meeting convinced me once again that we are on the side of truth. Despite the difficult times, during the war, you have the strength, love, and courage to fight for the truth”.