Longer online version; see re-sub-edited PDF

Safety Fund for Ukraine thanks LFB

LONDON Freelance Branch voted in its April meeting to donate £500 to the IFJ/EFJ Safety Fund for Ukraine. This is run by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), with the NUJ being part of both of them. After making the payment, LFB's Treasurer Dapo Ladimeji received the following communication:

"This is a receipt for your gracious donation to International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) safety fund for journalists in Ukraine. Thank you for helping us keep Ukrainian media alive.

This fund will provide:

  • First aid kits, flak jackets and helmets and medical supplies to those who cover the front lines.
  • Safe passage, relocation and humanitarian assistance to those trapped in towns and cities under fire need.

In solidarity,

International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ)."

For a recent update on solidarity efforts in Ukraine by the IFJ and EFJ, see here. This includes well over €20,000 received by the fund as of 23 March, assistance from UNESCO to help provide over 110 sets of body armour and training and also efforts to help at least 35 Russian journalists who have been forced to flee Russian, mostly to Turkey and Georgia.

Still ‘dire’ for journalists in Russia too

Stuart Smith, an LFB member employed by the Moscow bureau of a broadcast news outlet, told the March Branch meeting about the constraints under which foreign journalists - and particularly Russian journalists - then operated while trying to report on what they can only legally refer to as the "special military operation" in Ukraine.

Stuart updated the Branch in its April meeting. A Russian media lawyer had told him that as of 11 April he didn't know of any "foreign" media workers in Russia arrested or charged under the Media Law, nor of any foreign media outlets threatened with police visits, nor of any foreign journalists having received letters from the police. The crackdown was "not what we expected" in terms of it hitting foreign media - though many have left Russia or are being "far more cautious" in reporting on the "special military operation".

There has, though, been talk from the Putin regime about visa restrictions on "citizens of unfriendly countries". So fresh hassles are now expected for foreign media workers in Russia.

The situation remains "dire" for Russian citizens in Russia reporting on events in Ukraine and in Russia. (See the EFJ update on this.)

Russia Today (RT), the English-language news channel sponsored by the Russian state, is at the time of writing accessible on the internet again in the UK , after earlier being blocked by internet platforms here. A motion on censorship of RT may come before LFB’s May meeting.

We repeat our earlier warning to members not to attempt to travel to cover the Ukraine conflict solo or unsupported.