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One year on: The Ukrainian media’s resilience to Russia’s full-scale invasion

Article by Sergiy Tomilenko

February 24, 2023

One year on: The Ukrainian media’s resilience to Russia’s full-scale invasion

The aggressive occupation policy was started by Russia back in 2014, with the occupation of Crimea and part of the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk Regions. The bloody war in Donbas forged a significant circle of experienced war journalists in Ukraine who went to report from the frontlines. At the same time, it is obvious that since the full-scale invasion in February 2022 every journalist in Ukraine, experienced or not, has become a war journalist.


Journalists have had to realise the level of danger to which they can be exposed on the frontline. There has been a recognition of the line that they cannot cross even for the sake of writing a ‘cool’ article or preparing a ‘cool’ photo report. Unfortunately, this lesson has come at a high price. As of today, 50 Ukrainian journalists and media workers have been killed since the beginning of the full-scale war in Ukraine, eight of them were killed while performing their professional duties. Many more journalists were injured, forced to flee and/or been deprived of personal and editorial property. Some have passed through Russian torture chambers, whilst others currently remain in Russian captivity.


The key, most important professional term for journalists in Ukraine today is the word ‘safety’. In the circumstances in which Russia can indiscriminately attack Ukrainian civilian infrastructure and, at any moment, launch missiles towards not only the frontlines, no resident of Ukraine feels safe. Therefore, every journalist should be ready to act according to pre-prepared security protocols.


Today, we can confidently say that journalism in Ukraine is a profession of courageous people. Our organisation’s slogan, which was ingrained a few years before in the midst of panic due to the epidemic of the coronavirus disease, is “Journalists are Important!”. Today, this slogan has acquired a special meaning, because, for Ukrainians who are trying to save themselves from Russian aggression, objective information really saves lives, helps us to survive, and helps us unite to fight off our occupiers.


Sergiy Tomilenko is the President of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU)

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