Western journalists neglect their Ukrainian colleagues’ safety

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, we have read, seen and heard some horrific stories from the front line. 

The tragic death of Oleksandra Kuvshynova has put a spotlight on the critical role of local field producers and translators when reporting in conflict zones.

Western journalists neglect their Ukrainian colleagues’ safety, writes Alik Sardarian: “They violate all possible ethical standards, which, 20 or 30 years later, they will go on to teach young journalism students somewhere in Missouri or London.”

We have to demand that every international media outlet adheres to rigid guidelines for reporting in war zones.

The behaviour of many international colleagues (who work for Western as well as Middle-Eastern or Asian media outlets) regarding security is simply unprofessional and irresponsible. These are some of the main problems:

  • Some journalists don’t look for bulletproof vests, helmets and first aid kits until they arrive in Ukraine, as though they have little idea where they were going
  • They do not listen to the warnings of local producers about the level of danger, even though these producers are the ones who know the local geography and communicate with the Ukrainian military and volunteers
  • They do not pay the agreed fees, or they haggle, as if bargaining for tomatoes at the market
  • They demand local producers go into dangerous situations without any real goal
  • They do not understand that they have a choice about being in a war zone. Ukrainian journalists do not have this choice
  • And, most importantly, they do not understand the obvious fact that they are safer everywhere because of their foreign passports, long-term contracts and insurance

There is little that Ukrainians can do to prevent Western journalists and the outlets they work for from making these mistakes. So I encourage their colleagues in the international media community to speak up, and call out these unacceptable behaviours.

Read the OpenDemocracy full article: International media are abusing the heroism of Ukraine’s journalists

Translate »
%d bloggers like this: