How Ukrainian media Kyiv Independent protects its journalists
As Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues to escalate, reporting from the war zone is becoming increasingly difficult – and dangerous. So far, four journalists have been killed reporting on the war and many more are injured or missing.
Ukrainian journalist Victoria Roshchyna has been missing for more than a week and her outlet believes she is being held by Russian forces. However, Olga Rudenko, editor-in-chief of the Kyiv Independent, said journalist Oleh Baturyn, who was abducted last week in the southeastern Ukrainian town of Kakhovka, was just liberated by Russian fighters.
The Kyiv Independent is a fairly new publication, but has won acclaim for its coverage of the war.
“It’s gone from a three-month-old startup and relative unknown in the Western world to now one of the leading sources of news about the war in Ukraine,” CNN’s chief correspondent said Sunday. Brian Stelter, on Reliable Sources.
Rudenko said no one in his team has yet been directly targeted, but reporting on the conflict is a “daily risk”.
“We have to remember that this is an invasion by an authoritarian regime that has been constantly targeting journalists and the media for decades now,” Rudenko said.
Rudenko said the outlet is learning as it goes when it comes to protecting employees who suddenly find themselves war correspondents. Several of the Independent’s reporters had previously worked in a war zone after Russiathe annexation of Crimea in 2014. Now they are working again in dangerous places, including Kyiv.
One of the media’s biggest fears is that Russian forces will cut internet connections, hampering their ability to publish information.
“We don’t focus” in one place, Rudenko said. “We are in different places.”
The work continues, but the emphasis is on preventing unnecessary risks.
“We also tell journalists that safety is a priority,” Rudenko said. “No story is worth a human life.”
But the psychological impacts will last after the war, Rudenko said.
“Just being thrown in there,” Rudenko said of the fight record. “This new reality where we cover this horror every day and every hour.”