To celebrate UN World Press Freedom Day, the European Endowment for Democracy is taking part in the 8th edition of Difference Day.
The event will take place in Brussels on 2-5 May, and is organised by Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Université Libre de Bruxelles and Erasmushogeschool Brussel, IHECS, BOZAR, & Evens Foundation, together with other partners such as EPC MPA, EBU, Bertelsmann, European Commission, UNESCO, and EED.
EED is hosting a panel titled "Journalism during a time of crisis", which will take place on Tuesday, 3 May from 10:00 to 11:30 at Bozar (Studio, Rue Ravenstein 23 1000 Brussels).
Independent media play a vital role in holding authorities to account, exposing corruption, providing information to citizens, offering a platform for debate, and debunking disinformation. Yet freedom of speech is under threat in many countries worldwide, and journalists are a particular target for authoritarian regimes. This session focuses on the experiences of journalists in Belarus and Ukraine.
Belarusian journalists have experienced a particularly severe crackdown with journalists being driven out of the country and are now living in exile, and very few independent media still operating inside the country.
In Ukraine, a country with a previously vibrant if somewhat challenging media ecosystem, most media outlets are now struggling to survive, given the collapse of the advertising market following Russia’s invasion. Once successful commercial outlets now rely on donor funding to pay their staff and continue to report, at a time when there has never been a greater demand for independent journalism.
Most Ukrainian journalists had no previous reporting experience from war zones, and they now have to work in highly dangerous conditions. Several have already been killed, and kidnapped and many have been injured. They are at the front line of what is not just a military war but also a war of information.
How can we ensure that journalists on the ground can continue to report in safety?
How can we address the gap between the large demand for first-hand independent news and the reality on the ground?
Who do you trust?
Natalia Gumenyuk, Ukrainian journalist and founder of Public Interest Journalism Lab.
Barys Haretski & Hanna Valynets, VP and spokesperson, Belarusian Association of Journalists.
Jakub Parusinski, author at The Fix and crowdfunder.
Pavol Demes, EED Executive committee vice-chair and GMFUS fellow.
Hanna Liubakova, journalist.