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30 Mai. 2023


Foreign journalists in Ukraine: work experience and safety rules

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Foreign journalists in Ukraine: work experience and safety rules

International support for Ukraine depends not only on the leaders of the countries, but also on the public opinion of the citizens of partner countries. Find out what problems and challenges foreign journalists face when covering events in Ukraine

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Western correspondents, working in Ukraine and in the war zones, have a significant impact on the perceptions and attitudes towards Ukraine and Ukrainians in particular. After all, the populations of partner countries look at events and the state of affairs through the eyes of their journalists. Therefore, it is very important that the work of foreign correspondents is as simple, convenient, and safe as possible. 

Let's analyze the main problems faced by Western journalists and their impressions of working in Ukraine.

Is it difficult to enter Ukraine and get accredited?

Foreign correspondents do not face any problems when entering the territory of Ukraine, as all the rules are clearly spelled out in the legislation, and therefore there are no unforeseen obstacles. It is also important that no additional restrictions have been imposed due to martial law, except for the need to comply with certain security measures. We wrote more about the conditions of entry into Ukraine for foreigners here.

As for accreditation, the vast majority of Western correspondents received it quickly and without any additional problems. However, journalists call on the Ukrainian authorities to meet the needs of the media and introduce a single window system and a state policy on accreditation. This would greatly simplify communication between foreigners and the Ukrainian mission, as well as speed up the process of providing feedback in case of problems or questions.

In addition, the need for additional "local accreditation" in the areas where hostilities are taking place significantly complicates the coordination and efficiency of foreign journalists.

Selective access to the liberated territories and the absence of official rules that would regulate this process are also identified as problems. However, in most cases, this is a matter of safety for media representatives themselves, and therefore access to these territories is subject to certain restrictions.

Accidents and security measures

Martial law necessitates certain restrictions on the territory of Ukraine. In addition to the standard rules regarding curfews and security during air raids and missile attacks, a foreigner must have reliable insurance covering military risks. Such a policy provides not only for emergency care and outpatient treatment, but also for coverage of risks and accidents related to military operations or terrorist acts. This is especially true for correspondents who are on the front lines, in liberated territories, under fire, and in cities with an increased threat of missile attacks from russia.

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What topics do foreign media cover and what information do they lack access to?

According to a survey conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, Western journalists are focused not only on covering the situation in Ukraine, but also on events that are directly related to their country. After all, information about official visits of politicians and government officials, joint statements and decisions, financial and military assistance, and the stay of their fellow citizens in Ukraine is of the greatest interest to society. In addition, the stories of ordinary Ukrainians who talk about their journey and the problems they have faced as a result of the russian invasion are of interest.

The main problem Western correspondents identified was the limited access to information regarding the supply of military aid, including weapons. According to the journalists, the opportunity to talk about this issue could help to cover the real situation in Ukraine more effectively. However, these restrictions are fully justified, as the disclosure of this information could lead to the disruption of russia's supply plans and missile attacks.

In addition, foreign correspondents often face an insufficient number of press officers, which ultimately affects the efficiency of their work. In order to get the necessary data or comments, they have to wait in line.

At the same time, communication with Ukrainian fixers, who are supposed to help Western journalists communicate with officials and local residents, received positive ratings. The only drawback is the language barrier, as it is difficult to find a fixer who speaks several foreign languages, and therefore communication often takes place only in English.

What are foreign correspondents' impressions of communication with the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Ukrainian authorities?

No problems were found in communication with military representatives and soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Journalists unanimously call this experience positive and emphasize the professionalism, politeness, frankness and good level of English of the military, which allows them to communicate effectively about events in Ukraine.

The situation with government officials and the President's office is the opposite. Journalists express dissatisfaction with the organization of this process and call it long and complicated, and therefore most foreign correspondents decide not to spend time there.

Thus, we see that the government of Ukraine should take care to simplify the accreditation process for Western journalists and create a special system of communication between foreigners and the authorities. This will help maintain effective and efficient communication and ensure the objectivity and relevance of the information broadcast by foreign correspondents. Ultimately, such changes will have a positive impact on the image of Ukraine and Ukrainians in the international arena and the support of Western society.

We remind you! The last year has been indicative and proved to the world that the boundaries of what is possible can melt before our eyes. In our previous article, we described how international support and Ukraine itself have changed since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

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