Home News Media News War in Ukraine: RSF’s Lviv centre steps up operational assistance to journalists in the field

War in Ukraine: RSF’s Lviv centre steps up operational assistance to journalists in the field

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War in Ukraine: RSF’s Lviv centre steps up operational assistance to journalists in the field
Distributing helmets, bulletproof vests and safety manuals, providing online training, psychological support and financial aid, and taking legal action – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has been moving ahead on all possible fronts via its Press Freedom Centre in Ukraine since 11 March to meet the needs of journalists risking their lives to cover this war.

As direct attacks on reporters increase in Ukraine, with a total of seven journalists now killed while covering the war, RSF’s Press Freedom Centre in the western city of Lviv has been steadily stepping up its activities.

“Journalists are a prime target for Putin’s regime, so every action helps those who are resisting and helps to tell the world about the horror now sweeping Ukraine, said Alexander Query, the coordinator of RSF’s Lviv centre. Every vest, every helmet and every safety kit protecting a journalist who is reporting what is happening here is a bulwark against the enemies of a free press. We thank all those who, through their generosity and commitment, are helping to support our operations in the most concrete manner possible.”

Here is an initial summary of the assistance and support provided to Ukrainian journalists from this hub set up in the west of the country nearly a month ago with help from many partners:

  • 158 bulletproof vests and 100 helmets made available 

A total of 158 vests and 100 helmets had been delivered to Lviv by 6 April. Since the beginning of the war, a total of four deliveries have been made to the Centre, with difficulties due to the need for specific permits that slow down their delivery via Poland. RSF has ordered a total of 541 bulletproof vests and 490 helmets since the Centre opened in Lviv.

The Institute of Mass Information (IMI), a Ukrainian NGO that is an RSF partner, and the National Union of Journalists in Ukraine (NUJU) put the total need at around 700 vests and helmets.

  • RSF’s safety guide translated into Ukrainian

RSF’s Safety Guide for Journalists, which was produced in partnership with UNESCO and offers practical advice to reporters going to high-risk areas, has been translated into Ukrainian by the NUJU. A thousand copies are being printed and it is already available on a dedicated website.

  • Physical and psychological safety training provided to 78 journalists

As part of its operational support for journalists, the Lviv Press Centre has managed – in record time – to organise online training sessions in Ukrainian that are designed to help reporters and their fixers to safeguard their physical and mental health. Two training sessions per week are offered, one in psychological safety lasting two hours and the other in first aid. Nearly 80 Ukrainian journalists had received the training by 6 April.

A physical safety training session – in person and in English – was also organised for the Centre’s staff and for all requesting journalists.

  • 1100 first aid kits available soon

These very complete and compact medical kits can be used to treat any injury in an emergency. Deliveries are problematic but 1100 kits are expected at the Lviv Centre soon and will be distributed to journalists in the field.

  • 65 journalists and 15 media to receive emergency funding

Despite difficulties linked to the transfer of international funds during the war, money orders were finally released on 31 March and were sent to some of the 65 journalists identified by RSF as beneficiaries because they have been deprived of their usual sources of funding.

At the same time, RSF Assistance staff have identified some 15 independent Ukrainian media outlets that will be given the emergency funding they need to be able to continue working.

  • Five complaints with ICC, one in France, concerning 29 journalists 

RSF’s litigation specialists are about to file two more complaints with the International Criminal Court in addition to the three already filed with the ICC and the one filed in France. These six complaints concern acts of violence against at least 29 journalists and the destruction of broadcasting equipment. In almost all cases, RSF has established that the Russian armed forces were responsible and that these acts can be regarded as war crimes. Some cases are still being analysed to determine the precise circumstances, in particular, the artillery and aerial bombardments in which journalists have been victims.

RSF thanks all of its partners for their support:

– The Institute of Mass Information (IMI) and the National Union of Journalists in Ukraine (NUJU).

– Free Press Unlimited (FPU), an Amsterdam-based organisation specialising in media development, the Jnomics team and The Fix, the Berlin-based Network for Reporting on Eastern Europe (n-ost) and the Swedish press group Bonnier.

– The city of Lviv for its hospitality, the Limelight Foundation, the Adessium Foundation, the Schöpflin Foundation, the King Baudouin Foundation, the Oak Foundation, the Fritt Ord Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, UNESCO, the Washington Post and the European Union Delegation in Ukraine.

– RSF’s German and Swedish sections for their decisive contributions.

The Press Freedom Centre created by RSF is located within Lviv’s International Media Centre at 32 Rynok Square, Lviv, Ukraine. Contact: lvivpfc@rsf.org

Ukraine is ranked 97th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index while Russia is ranked 150th.

Source – https://rsf.org/en/news/war-ukraine-rsfs-lviv-centre-steps-operational-assistance-journalists-field

 

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