Solidarity with journalists in Ukraine
A SOLIDARITY mission carrying half a ton of humanitarian aid for Ukrainian journalists left Athens on 9 March, headed by Maria Antoniadou, President of the Journalists' Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers (JUADN).
The aid will be delivered to the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) and the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU). These are the Ukrainian journalists' unions affiliated to the International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ). It includes:
- 87 first-aid kit bags donated by the journalists' social security organisation EDOEAP;
- €5900 worth of electronic equipment, sleeping bags, backpacks and covid-19 protection masks purchased by JUADN with assistance from the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists' Unions (a"https://www.poesy.gr/">PFJU);
- Other electronic and communications equipment provided through the telecommunication companies WIND and COSMOTE and the Non-Profit Cultural and Charitable Foundation AEGEAS.
JUADN has also donated €2000 to the IFJ/EFJ International Safety Fund to support journalists under threat as a result of the war. JUADN President Maria Antoniadou says: "Solidarity is our weapon. The Journalists' Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers Executive Board from the first moment of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is in contact with the European and the International Federation of Journalists and Ukrainian journalists' unions to provide assistance and support to our colleagues and their families."
From Russia with solidarity
And on 7 March the independent Russian trade union JMWU issued a message of solidarity with Ukrainian and Russian journalists who are trying to do their work in the public interest in an increasingly difficult environment: "Let's call a spade a spade. Peace is peace, and war is war. Any war is accompanied by violence and confusion. In one place they shoot, in another they are subjected to repressions. Real courageous reporters - of whom there are few - are trying to do their duty in order to give the society the most reliable information about what is really happening in Ukraine. Unfortunately, in these extreme conditions, many journalists have faced various difficult problems. We, journalistic organizations in Russia, Ukraine and other countries, are trying to solve them to the best of our ability. This difficult task requires the participation of everyone who can and wants to help colleagues."
"Today," the statement continues, "many of our colleagues from Vladivostok and Nizhny Tagil to Lvov, Istanbul and Krakow have suddenly found themselves in a frightening situation. Some were forced to flee from shelling, others from repression. Almost every case is individual, since life, alas, is multifaceted, not only in joy, but also in sorrow. At the same time, what is happening in Ukraine and around it caused a powerful wave of sympathy and solidarity. Many of our colleagues from different countries are ready to help. We, as the only independent journalistic organization in Russia, are in constant contact with the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, Turkiye gazeteciler sendikasi, journalistic organizations of the Baltic and Caucasian countries, which are members of the Common Federation of European Journalists (EFJ). Various interstate organizations and international NGOs are also ready to join in solving this or that difficult situation."
JMWU calls on journalists who find themselves in difficulty to contact its Telegram account: @profjursupport_bot.
Support independent Russian journalists
The EFJ also offers its support to the Union of Journalists of the Russian Republic of Karelia, which is challenging the censorship laws adopted by the State Duma and their implementation by the Russian regulator RKN. In a statement sent to the General Prosecutor's Office of Russia, the union says that "the idea that a journalist has no right to use sources other than official sources when preparing a story is contrary to the principles of our work." The union also says that "the ban on the use of the word 'war' when describing the actions of the Russian army in Ukraine is unjustified, senseless and illegal."
"As hundreds of Russian journalists seek to leave the country under a terrible wave of censorship and repression, it is reassuring to see these courageous professional organisations standing up against the arbitrariness of the Russian authorities," said EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez. "We must support Ukrainian journalists who are facing bombs and war crimes from the Russian army. But we must also support independent Russian journalists who are standing up to Putin's authoritarian regime."
What you can do (and not do)
The Freelance repeats our call for freelances not to go to Ukraine unsupported. We encourage members who are able to do so to contribute to the IFJ/EFJ Safety Fund. The National Union of Journalists is one of many journalists' unions that have made contributions to the Fund from their modest coffers.
For more of the news that can be reported please see the links below and the EFJ news page. We aim to bring you what can't yet be reported when it can.