Ukraine : After Lviv, RSF opens second Press Freedom Centre in Kyiv

Two months after opening a Press Freedom Centre in Lviv, in western Ukraine, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is setting up a second one, on 18 May, in the capital, Kyiv, to develop its various activities in support of journalists. RSF has already sent 440 bullet-proof vests for Ukrainian and foreign reporters.

Two months after opening a Press Freedom Centre in Lviv, RSF is setting up, on 18 May, the new Press Freedom Centre at the headquarters of its Ukrainian partner organisation, the Institute of Mass Information (IMI), at 39 Pushkinska Street, in the centre of Kyiv. This new branch will enable it to develop its activities in equipment distribution, particularly protective equipment such as bullet-proof vests and helmets, safety training, such as digital safety, and psychological support for journalists.

“Opening this new centre will allow RSF to be at front line of protecting Ukrainian and international journalists,” said Alexandre Query, the Centre’s coordinator. “A new chapter is opening in our mission to protect and defend press freedom in Ukraine.”

As well as 440 bullet-proof vests, RSF has also organised the delivery of 199 helmets, 630 trauma first aid kits and 250 solar external batteries to Ukraine. This protective equipment is mainly distributed to Ukrainian journalists - about 70% of the beneficiaries - by the Centre for Press Freedom as well as by RSF's local partner, the Institute of Mass Information (IMI) and other local organisations, such as the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU). The Press Freedom Centre has lent equipment to more than 180 journalists and other information providers, of whom 40% are Ukrainian, while 210 vests and 125 helmets have been handed over to RSF’s local partners.

Oksana Romaniuk, director of the Institute of Mass Information (IMI), stressed the importance of this partnership with RSF: “In times when doing journalism in Ukraine became extremely dangerous, due to the large-scale invasion of Russia, the support from Reporters Without Borders has become very important for us. We believe our partnership with RSF will help save the lives of journalists, increase their safety, and defend freedom of expression in Ukraine”.

Any journalist who is accredited with the Ukrainian armed forces and who is travelling to a high-risk area can borrow equipment in Lviv or Kyiv by contacting [email protected]. They will need to show an ID and their accreditation, and sign a loan affidavit.

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