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CPJ Offers Advice for Journalists Covering Russian Attacks

Coverage of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on ABC's Nightline
ABC and other networks are covering Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (Image credit: ABC News)

The Committee to Protect Journalists is pointing journalists toward its safety advice — in English and Ukrainian — on covering the conflict as journalists began reporting on the Russian attacks on Ukraine, which was being called a "full-scale" invasion.

In advance of the anticipated attacks, CPJ had talked with Anastasiya “Nastya” Stanko, co-founder and former chief editor of independent Ukrainian media channel Hromadske, about journalists' preparations for covering a war.

She said that in early January some local journalists were stocking up on helmets, vests, first aid kits and they had had training in how to get to bomb shelters in the case of attacks, while others were not making many preparations because at least until very recently they did not see much that had changed despite Western media reports of about a possible invasion. "Unlike their foreign colleagues, Ukrainian journalists haven’t been writing about an imminent war because we don’t see anything new in the situation," Stanko said.

Stanko did say Hromadske was looking for a new office since its existing one was "not very safe from bomb attacks."

Back in 2014 in what has been a years-long conflict between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists, some local journalists were taken hostage by pro-Russian separatists and others killed or wounded in crossfire.

And in the now Russian-controlled Crimea, independent media have been shuttered and journalists imprisoned.

On Thursday, as the Russian attacks began throughout the country, CPJ was pointing to its safety advice. It steered journalists to links on "arrest and detention," "civil disorder" and "internet shutdowns." ■

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.