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Journalist please STOP!

''Dear journalists. I am no longer making you content for free. I have job to do. I have war in my country. Sorry.''

The concise tweet from Nika Melkozerova, director of The New Voice Ukraine website, today voiced the frustration of many journalists and citizen journalists who are working on the ground (or have done so on past occasions) and see their materials used by large media, often without credit and almost always without any financial recognition. If Melkozerova then tells on her Twitter account that she wants to take a break to take care of her family and contribute to her country's war effort, her appeal is picked up and amplified by others in the same situation as her. 

Some, like the American Terrell Jermaine Starr who is part of the Eurasia Center of the Atlantic Council, complain about the hypocritical approach of many networks, ready to produce a tribute video of 30 seconds "and immediately move on to the next piece of exploited work".

Tweet of journalist in ukraine 

Like many other freelancers, Starr has set up a private fundraiser to self-finance his work. But the problem of how to give an economic value to the delicate, dangerous, and equally vital work of those who are in Ukraine at this time and can document the events, is being raised with a certain urgency. And there are many initiatives, inside and outside Ukraine, to structure forms of financing: micropayments, consortia, fundraisers. 

The Ukrainian Volunteer Journalists Initiative (UVJI) has just been formed, a network of about 200 volunteers scattered throughout Ukraine who offers large networks, especially Americans, reporting services of various kinds in the field: search for interviews, translations of news and media local, daily reports on the evolution of the war situation, photographic video material, information on how to send donations to the population.

Outside Ukraine, perhaps the most significant initiative is that of the Adami Media Prize, which since 2015 has supported works marked by tolerance and diversity of journalists, writers, video makers in Eastern European countries, in collaboration with French TV. German Art. It is called “Eye on Ukraine” and is a hub of materials - videos, photos, reports - that journalists, television producers, filmmakers currently in Ukraine can use to distribute their works on a paid basis. “We do not encourage you to jump on sensational images of tanks or explosions - reads the presentation post on Facebook - please stay as safe as possible - but to send materials on all aspects and topics you are dealing with. The Arte Journal will not use your work for free but we will give it great evidence in Western Europe. He will pay the royalties for each video/film/report that will be used to support your work ”.

Also from Germany, we note the initiative of the German magazine of "cartography of social sciences" Katapult which is recruiting a team of citizen journalists in Ukraine and Germany, with a salary of 1650 euros per month for reports, videos, and photos.

In a high-intensity crisis theater-like Ukraine, freelance reporters also need other types of support. The International Journalists' Network collects here some resources and initiatives made available in Ukraine and abroad: the Media Assistance Coordination Center set up by the Ukrainian Media Development Foundation to put journalists in contact with those who can provide shelter, food, first aid kits, medical care, transport, protective materials. Germany's Media Freedom Rapid Response provides logistical, legal, technical assistance (such as VPN and materials) and support to the families of journalists in danger or persecuted. The Rory Peck Trust, founded in memory of the American cameraman Rory Peck killed in Moscow in 1993, has set up a "crisis fund" to purchase protection kits for journalists who are already in the field.

we are also already thinking of the diaspora of Ukrainian journalism. In Poland, the Fundacja Reporterów in collaboration with the Global Investigative Journalism Network and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project have set up a network to help journalists who decide to leave the country

ukraine tweet

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