Mental health, chemical and nuclear dangers: RSF strengthens its support for Ukrainian journalists
Since the war began, Press Freedom Centers opened in Ukraine by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and its local partner the Institute of Mass Information have provided support to 1,300 journalists and media outlets. RSF also works with many Ukrainian organisations to offer physical protection and psychological support to Ukrainian war reporters
Over the past 18 months, journalists chronicling Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and its effects have been exposed to serious risks to their physical and psychological well-being. News professionals are paying a high price for their work. RSF has registered about 100 acts of violence against them since 24 February 2022. These include the killing of 11 reporters. Dozens of others have been attacked or wounded while covering the war.
Rest and psychological support
To help journalists deal with the repercussions of the conflict on their personal, financial, and mental well-being, the Lviv Media Forum, a Ukrainian NGO, is offering once again this year its Media Residency Programme, with the support of RSF International and its Swedish section.
From 14 August until October, 80 journalists and their families will benefit from a stay of several days to rebuild themselves psychologically and encounter colleagues from other Ukrainian media. The programme is housed in the Carpathian Mountains, a region in western Ukraine that has so far been spared from the war. The goal is to allow participants to exit “survival” mode and have access to psychological care to allow them to continue their journalistic work.
Preparation against unconventional threats
Concerns persist in Ukraine about possible use of unconventional weapons. The recent destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam shows that the Russian military does not limit itself in its war methods and means. Faced with serious threats of nuclear, radiological, bacteriological, and chemical (NRBC) weapons, RSF has joined with the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) to establish a programme to strengthen the capacities of Ukrainian media professionals.
On 15 August, The NUJU, with RSF support, held a training session in Kyiv for war reporters from 10 media outlets on how to take sound protective measures against NRBC threats. The training was conducted by a security expert who is experienced in dealing with human-caused catastrophes. At the conclusion of the session, each journalist received a set of protective coveralls, a gas mask, and decontamination supplies. A second training session will be held on 5 September in the city of Zaporizhzhia.
Projects undertaken in partnership with the Lviv Media Forum (LMF) and the
National Union of Journalists of Ukraine