Press freedom “under attack” in war-torn Ukraine

Martin Banks

Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper), The restoration of the press must be included in the programmes of economic and social restoration of Ukraine. That is a demand made by the organisation representing media in the war torn country.

The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine amd the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) recently held a joint round table at the Brussels Press Club, dedicated to the problems faced by Ukrainian media in the conditions of war.

Both agree that the media is a “national asset” and everything possible should be done to protect reporters in the country.

Renate Schroeder, the director of the EFJ, said, “Since the beginning of the full-scale war in Ukraine, media publications in Ukraine have found themselves in a difficult situation, especially near the front line and in the liberated territories.

“Journalists who continue to work in these regions face extraordinary conditions and come under fire. Russian troops are attacking residential areas; they are purposefully destroying newsroom premises and printing houses with their missiles and rockets.

“The advertising market in Ukraine is in complete ruin, which makes it almost impossible for the media to get financing. Due to the full-scale russian war, more than 230 media outlets in Ukraine were forced to stop their activities,” said Renate Schroeder.

 Lina Kushch, First Secretary of the NUJU, added, “Our main goal was to draw attention to the necessity for long-term support of Ukrainian media so that the recovery of Ukrainian media, especially local media, is included in the agenda and all programmes for the recovery of Ukraine, along with projects for the reconstruction of destroyed buildings and infrastructure.

“Local media have no way to make money from advertising and have effectively lost all sources of income. About 30% of Ukrainian media ceased their activities, and more than 20% lost access to their own premises and equipment due to occupation or destruction.”

The NUJU also said it had joined the Global Forum for Media Development which has 199 members and supports journalism around the world.

Elsewhere, EU parliament president Robeta Metsola says the results of the EU elections had sent a clear message of support to Ukraine.

The Maltese MEP said, “The election results show a majority of our citizens have called for the defence of our values and for security to remain a top priority. Our support with Ukraine must continue. Everyone must benefit from the twin transitions.”

Meanwhile, Willy Fautré, director of Human Rights Without Frontiers, a Brussels based rights NGO, has warned of attempts in the “Brussels-EU Bubble” to “spread false information about Russia’s war on Ukraine.”

He said that to counteract Russian propaganda, the EU has suspended the broadcasting activities and licenses of “several Kremlin-backed disinformation outlets.”

Fautre said, “Vigilance is needed in the EU Bubble in Brussels as a number of Members of the European Parliament and their staff have recently been accused of complicity with Vladimir Putin’s regime and acting as agents of influence.”

About Us

Brussels Morning is a daily online newspaper based in Belgium. BM publishes unique and independent coverage on international and European affairs. With a Europe-wide perspective, BM covers policies and politics of the EU, significant Member State developments, and looks at the international agenda with a European perspective.
Share This Article
Martin Banks is an experienced British-born journalist who has been covering the EU beat (and much else besides) in Brussels since 2001. Previously, he had worked for many years in regional journalism in the UK and freelanced for national titles. He has a keen interest in foreign affairs and has closely followed the workings of the European Parliament and MEPs in particular for some years.