How war challenges journalism

“First social media war –⁠ that’s what the current war in Ukraine could be called,” began session host Olli Junes, executive producer of radio in Finnish Broadcasting Company, Yle.

Filip Nerad, head of the foreign news desk and European affairs analyst at Czech Radio, discussed the new challenges that war journalists face when reporting on the current war in Ukraine. “The war is challenging our ideas of objectivity,” he explained and described how the boundary between a passive observer and an active participant in war blurs. Another aspect that a war correspondent needs to take into consideration is ethics. “What can we say and what is too much?” Nerad pondered. A war reporter should also make use of social media which is nowadays a valuable source of information, as well as a platform for reaching a wider audience than just listeners. This is a daily job for Martin Dorazín, a Czech Radio journalist, who was one of the first reporters to cover the war in Ukraine. Dorazín, currently in Ukraine, recorded a video message for the RadioDays audience, commenting upon the information war that Russia has declared not only on Ukraine but also on the rest of the world, aiming to destabilise the society.

“I am now considered to be a foreign agent in Russia which I obviously do not give a sh*t about since there are multiple other crime prosecutions against me,” said Roman Anin, Russian investigative journalist and a holder of ICFJ’s Knight International Journalism Award. He is now facing a threat of 15-year-long imprisonment in case of returning to Russia. He and his team however believe that journalists have to live in the country they write about and since they feel responsible for the actions of their country they are focusing on covering war crimes and how Russia avoids sanctions. With the audience, he shared stories about getting in touch with soldiers and providing the results of his investigation with the International Criminal Court. Although talking about not very positive facts, he demonstrated the statistics showing that there is more than a ten percent difference between the amount of Russians supporting the war in the beginning and nowadays and presented his wishes to spread the relevant pieces of information across the country where media are still heavily controlled.

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