Journalism Under Extreme Conditions
There was a time before and after the 24 February, the day when Russian troops started the full scale invasion of Ukraine. On that very day, ECPMF took part in a high level policy dialogue between the UN and EU on the safety of journalists and media freedom. There was a sense of incredulity in the room, actors were not yet ready to face the new reality – and the gruesome consequences it would have on journalists. Russian troops had black lists which, among others, included the names of journalists to be targeted. During the UN-EU dialogue, ECPMF recommended building up capacities to shelter journalists outside the country as an emergency activity.
Only a few weeks later, donors enabled ECPMF to drastically expand the fellowships in the Journalists-in-Residence programme. While the regular number of hosted journalists is ten, it has doubled in 2022. ECPMF also created a programme to support journalists on the ground in Ukraine with living stipends, technical support, and capacity building. In December, we gathered 200 Ukrainian media professionals in Bratislava to discuss the situation. The conference sharpened our senses of what must be done to continue the fight for media freedom, quality journalism, and democracy under the most extreme condition thinkable: war.
While the war against Ukraine in some ways touched nearly every aspect of ECPMF’s activities, there was also the regular work to be done. Now, we would like to highlight a few small excerpts from 2022: