UNESCO Helps Protect Ukraine Journalists, Relocate Unions

Capitol Hill
(Image credit: Gary Arlen)

UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is trying to help Ukrainian journalists and their displaced unions as both work to report on the devastating Russian invasion of their country.

That help is taking at least three forms.

First, UNESCO is providing 125 sets of personal protective equipment. That includes bullet-proof vests and helmets, which will be distributed by Reporters without Borders (RSF). The group also called on UN member states to help fund and expand that effort.

Second, in coordination with RSF, it is providing training on reporting in hostile environments, a term that definitely applies to the indiscriminate shelling and air strikes on civilians by the Russian army. It is translating its training manual into several languages and organizing online courses in "how to work safely in war zones," which is clearly a tall order. There is also a dedicated 24/7 hotline for journalists who may need to evacuate from hot spots.

Also: Fox Journalist Injured in Ukraine is Safe

Third, the group is working with the International Federation of Journalists to relocate the offices of Ukraine's two journalist unions--the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, with 4,000-plus members, and the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (about 2,000 members)--to Poland near the border with Ukraine.

“Every day, journalists and media workers are risking their lives in Ukraine to provide life-saving information to local populations and inform the world of the reality of this war. We are determined to support and protect them in every way possible," said UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, four journalists have been killed in the war so far, including Ukrainian camera operator Yevhenii Sakun, who died March 1 in the shelling of a Kiev television tower that killed five, as well as two journalists working for Fox News, cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra Kuvshynova, who was consulting for Fox. Also killed was reporter and documentarian Brent Renaud.

Ukrainian journalist Oleh Baturyn has also been missing since March 12. ■

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.