Captured Russian tank near Izium

Ukraine – one year on

Leading European media freedom organisations including the Association of European Journalists marked the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with a joint statement, reminding Russia of its obligations under international law to refrain from all attacks on journalists as civilians. The AEJ joined other partner organisations of the Council of Europe’s Platform for the Safety of Journalists in issuing the statement on February 24.

Separately, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) issued a report titled “A year of information warfare in numbers” documenting the deaths of journalists, as well as other attacks and abuses, including torture and mistreatment, directed against journalists and media outlets in Ukraine. It also publicises the assistance provided by the organisation to support professional journalism in Ukraine and to combat Russian propaganda.
RSF notes that in the year since Russia launched its invasion on 24 February 2021, a total of 12,000 Ukrainian and foreign journalists had been accredited to cover the war, risking their lives every day to report; and it describes how Ukrainian media have been severely impacted by the war and its repercussions.

The Secretary-General and other top Council of Europe figures marked the anniversary with a public statement condemning the “brutal aggression against Ukraine”. The statement expressed “unwavering support for Ukraine and its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognised borders”, and urged Russia “to halt its aggression and withdraw its occupation forces from the territory of Ukraine”.

The Council said it remained “determined to support our Member State, Ukraine, its Government, and we stand in solidarity with the courageous people of Ukraine” as it called on all 46 member states in advance of an upcoming summit in Reykjavik on May 16 and 17 “to demonstrate unity and to continue taking decisive and collective action to support Ukraine. “
“We call for the restoration of peace based on international law, accountability, justice and respect for human rights,” it said.

AEJ joins partners statement on Platform for Safety of Journalists
RSF – the information war
Council of Europe statement
Online panel on media freedom and disinformation in Ukraine – March 1