From the very beginning of the war in Ukraine, our teams in Amsterdam and Prague, and our partners in the region, have been working day and night to bring journalists to safety and/or provide them with essentials to continue their important work.
Since the start of Media Lifeline Ukraine, we have been able to get 600 Ukrainian, but also Russian journalists to a safe place, we have brought 150 high-quality bulletproof vests and helmets across the border for the direct protection of journalists reporting at the front lines, and we are continuously working on the digital security of journalists in the region, for example by providing VPNs and protection against hacks. This way they can continue to share their information with the rest of the world.
In addition to the immediate danger to the thousands of journalists still working in Ukraine, the few independent media that still remain in Belarus and Russia are increasingly threatened by censorship, criminal prosecution and open intimidation.
Free Press Unlimited continues to advocate for the provision of emergency visas to these independent journalists who are determined to continue their reliable coverage of Ukraine-related events.
Emergency aid is still much needed, but it is also very important to look ahead. Long-term support is needed to sustain independent journalism in the region in the future. For example, by placing media hubs in safe places in the region where journalists receive psycho-social support, can work together, and receive advice on legal, digital and physical safety.
We have received so many supportive messages and generous donations. The partners and supporters of Media Lifeline Ukraine have been essential to realize this Lifeline. We are not there yet, but the start has been made.