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Ukraine: one year of journalism under fire

24 February marks a year of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. GFMD continues to stand in solidarity with Ukrainian media and journalists and explore new areas for emergency media support

Author: Yelyzaveta Bezushko | 21. February 2023

Ukraine. One year of journalism under fire

Since the first day of the war, Ukrainian journalists and media outlets have been reporting on war crimes, fighting Russian propaganda, and informing the world about the atrocities of war while constantly putting themselves at risk. According to the IFJ Killed List, 12 journalists were killed in the line of duty in Ukraine, becoming the deadliest country for journalists in 2022.

“Nowadays, when Ukraine has been resisting the brutal, unprovoked aggression of a powerful neighbouring state for almost a year, our colleagues deserve great respect – both Ukrainian and foreign journalists, who in the harsh conditions of war, despite the physical danger, psychological stress, economic problems, continue to honestly fulfil their journalistic duty,” says Sergiy Tomilenko, president of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) in an interview to IFJ.

According to RSF, a total of 12,000 Ukrainian and foreign journalists have been accredited to cover the war in Ukraine in the past year. GFMD continues to stand in solidarity with all journalists and independent media covering Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. As we stated in the Perugia Declaration for Ukraine last year, 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

If you’re interested in GFMD’s emergency media support for Ukraine, check out:

One year after the war started, GFMD is focusing on the following areas for Ukraine emergency media support:

Providing Psychological Support for Ukrainian Journalists

According to a recent needs assessment by Lviv Media Forum 36 per cent of editorial boards have identified psychological support as a priority area, and international organisations have been quick to offer counselling services. Still, there is uncertainty about what formats are likely to be helpful and effective.

As a response to a need identified by GFMD’s Ukraine media support information-sharing group, Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma has compiled a briefing on providing psychological support for Ukrainian journalists.  The document draws on the Dart Center’s twenty years of experience working with journalists in crisis zones, as well as recent conversations with Ukrainian journalists and staff working in media support organisations. It is also informed by scientific research into best practice interventions during mass violence crises.

The briefing presents preliminary orientations that provide a foundation for recommendations on three key levels of psychosocial support. It also contains a list of the recent psychological support initiatives for media workers in Ukraine as well as resources for psychological and psychosocial support available in Ukrainian.

The briefing is available in English and Ukrainian.

Tech and Journalism Crisis and Emergency Joint Industry Mechanism (T&JM)

Content moderation issues become particularly acute in crisis situations, where time and visibility are essential and influence operations pose serious threats to independent media. Ensuring that credible and professional journalism continues to exist and operate freely in digital environments has prompted GFMD to launch a multistakeholder process aimed at establishing the Tech and Journalism Crisis and Emergency Joint Industry Mechanism (T&JM). This initiative seeks to strengthen content and account moderation systems by establishing an emergency and crisis mechanism for public interest journalistic organizations, thereby providing safeguards for online freedom of expression, which is also an important component of disinformation responses.

Initially focused on Ukraine and the neighbouring countries as a pilot for possible wider application, T&JM specifically targets small and medium-sized media, community, and investigative journalism organisations and their professional communities.

The concept note will be presented by the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) and the UCLA Institute for Technology, Law and Policy (ITLP) on February 21 at the side-event of the UNESCO Internet for Trust Global Conference in Paris.

More about the event here.

GFMD’s MediaDev Fundraising Guide in Ukrainian

As the war enters its second year, emergency funding may no longer be as readily available, and journalists and media are finding themselves in a situation where they need to identify alternative sources of income.

In June 2021 GFMD launched a new fundraising centre and guide specifically aimed at the media and media development sector to help develop and improve fundraising proposals.  In recognition of the dire situation now facing our Ukrainian colleagues, the Fundraising Guide for Media Development has now been translated into Ukrainian with funding from the EU.

The Guide contains:

If you want to support Ukrainian media and journalists, check out the fundraising and crowdfunding initiatives GFMD has collated as part of our information-sharing effort to support media and journalists in Ukraine and the region: in English and in Ukrainian.


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