The primary task of journalism in Ukraine today could not be more important.
By Anthony Borden
IWPR FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
It is the media’s task, day after day, to report the human impact of the war. Film the damage, view the bodies, speak to the victims, tabulate the scale of the tragedy and reveal the reality of Russian behaviour: beatings and rape, theft and senseless murder.
So it is especially welcome for the Pulitzer Board to issue a special citation commending Ukrainian journalists “for their courage, endurance and commitment to truthful reporting”. As the board wrote, “Despite bombardment, abductions, occupation, and even deaths in their ranks, they have persisted in their effort to provide an accurate picture of a terrible reality, doing honour to Ukraine and to journalists around the world.”
Ukrainian journalists have led the way, whether working within the dynamic national or local media, reporting for mainstream and specialist international outlets - or simply explaining the story yet again to another international journalist and graciously sharing contacts and ideas. Their role is vital to documenting frontline battles, the humanitarian response, the politics of wartime not to mention elaborating the backstory to the conflict and combating disinformation.
In months reporting from across Ukraine, I myself have benefitted from the incredible insight and professional generosity of Andrii in Lviv, Alla in Kyiv, Maria in Kharkiv and Misha in Odesa, among others, and a fantastic collection of fixers and other support without which my own work would not have been possible. This fixing role is critical, and the foundation of so much of the news and information coming out of Ukraine.
The international community – and key Ukrainian partners – have made a vital contribution, providing funding, training equipment and other support.
IWPR is proud to have distributed flak jackets to Ukrainian journalists at the frontline. Our current work includes our Reckoning project that supports the investigative efforts of Ukrainian civil society and journalists into war crimes, while our Ukraine Voices initiative directly supports local reporters bringing their voices to an international audience.
But the real credit is to the Ukrainian media, especially the brave and talented Ukrainian reporters at the frontlines. In a war based on lies, they remain the primary truth tellers.