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Ukraine: Media freedom, disinformation and the effectiveness of calls for redress

February 2023 marks a bleak anniversary, a year since the Russian invasion into Ukraine. With no end in sight for the ongoing war, many are reflecting on the past 12 months and what further support is needed for Ukrainians as they continue their fight for freedom. 


This webinar, organised by the Justice for Journalists Foundation and the Foreign Policy Centre, focuses on a crucial part of any crisis – how it is reported and how information about it can be utilised to serve different ends. Journalists on the ground in Ukraine have faced many challenges to continue reporting. Since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine at least 47 journalists and media workers have been killed, eight while carrying out professional duties. 


While Russian disinformation, an issue long before recent events, has played a huge role both to garner support domestically and to externally influence the policies of Western countries, the war has placed even greater importance on the role of independent media. There is a clear need for accurate and verifiable information, as well as stronger efforts to counter disinformation and channels that propagate it. Nevertheless, the strategic use of communication by Ukrainians, not least by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has been a notable feature over the last year to not only effectively convey their experiences, build support for military and other aid, but also seek redress for the crimes committed by Russia.


Over the past couple of months in particular, Ukrainian politicians and civil society representatives have been seeking international support to create a Special Tribunal for the Crimes of Russian Aggression against Ukraine. It has been raised repeatedly by Zelenskyy, most recently during his speech in Westminster Hall on 8 February 2023, and has already been endorsed by 40 UK MPs from across the political parties. It has also been backed by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the former NATO Secretary General George Robertson, and the former Foreign Secretary David Owen. This special tribunal would also examine violations against the media brought during the conflict.  


Many in the UK will also be looking ahead to the Ukraine Recovery Conference to take place in London in June 2023. This event is a continuation of a series of annual conferences dedicated to Ukraine’s transformation, the first of which took place in London in 2017 as the Ukraine Reform Conference. This year’s conference will focus on the mobilisation of international and private sector support for the economic and social stabilisation of Ukraine. 


Alongside providing insights on the ongoing situation, our speakers will also give a view as to what the international community should be doing to support Ukraine; specifically, what the UK could do to further support the media in Ukraine now as well as future redress for crimes against them.


Watch the event here:


With Ukrainian translation here:

When March 1, 2023 15:00-16:00 London (16:00-17:00 Brussels; 17:00-18:00 Kyiv)

This event will be taking place on Zoom.

Please register for this event here.


Chair: Sir John Whittingdale OBE MP, Chair of the APPG on Media Freedom  

Sergiy Tomilenko, President of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine

Ricardo Gutiérrez, General Secretary, European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) 

Victoria Vdovychenko, Policy Advisor and Associate Professor at Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University, current ‘Scholar at Risk’ at Aston University

Yevheniia Virlych, Editor-in-Chief of online media

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