Since the Russian government’s appalling invasion of Ukraine, journalists on the ground have served a critical role for ordinary citizens in the region and around the world learning the full truth of what’s going on.
We join our friends at the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders, who have both forcefully written about how journalists must be guaranteed safe haven and not targeted by militaries. Beyond the countless Ukrainian journalists bravely covering the invasion, there are reportedly as many as 1,000 foreign correspondents on the ground.
Two correspondents for the Daily Beast, have already been shot covering the conflict. They are thankfully OK and recovering. But now a television broadcast tower in Kyiv has reportedly been destroyed by a Russian airstrike, and a cameraman was reportedly killed while on the job yesterday. The Russian legislators also plan to criminalize “unofficial” information about the invasion this week. It will likely get worse before it gets better.
CPJ’s coverage, through the lens of press freedom, is particularly comprehensive. It just published an insightful article about “the view from Ukraine, through the eyes of local journalists,” and an alert about all of the journalists detained or threatened inside of Russia for not kowtowing to the government line. According to FT’s Moscow bureau chief Max Seddon, prosecutors are already attempting to ban independent media providers for so-called "calls to extremism" and "publishing false data about Russian soldiers."
Columbia Journalism Review’s Jon Allsop, in his always-excellent The Media Today column, has also rounded up some of the tactics the Russian government is using to stifle control its domestic media, including:
According to Meduza, an independent Russian outlet now based in Latvia, Russia’s media regulator this morning ordered news outlets to only report information about Ukraine from official sources, threatening them with fines and censorship if they spread “false information.”
In an incredibly dangerous place for reporters to do their job, press freedom will be critical. The whole world is watching.