One year on from Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the devastating impact on lives and livelihoods is still mounting. The repercussions of the war have threatened media freedom, accelerated socio-economic inequalities, and violated human rights, with shockwaves felt around the world.
Ukrainian media - including newsrooms supported by the Foundation since 2019 - have been fighting for survival at a time when they are needed most. From reporting on the frontlines amidst shelling and blackouts, to debunking an onslaught of disinformation, to facing a total collapse of their advertising revenues – the threats they face to provide accurate and lifesaving information is unprecedented.
At the same time, non-profit organisations have faced complex challenges when deploying their resources to provide critical support to those affected by the escalating humanitarian crisis, with some having to navigate new legal landscapes in an attempt to relocate and transport essential supplies across borders.
In response, and with a mission to strengthen free, fair and informed societies, the Thomson Reuters Foundation has joined international efforts to support those on the ground by leveraging its media and legal expertise to protect independent news outlets and bolster the efforts of non-profits.
The Foundation has adapted its support to ensure that its newsroom partners are able to continue operating by providing emergency grants, assistance with diversifying funding sources and editorial training and mentoring. We also teamed up with The Committee to Protect Journalists to produce guides that relayed practical and important information, to help reporters navigate new and unfamiliar laws that govern what personal protective equipment can be moved into Ukraine.
Over the past year, the Foundation’s pro bono legal service, TrustLaw, has facilitated free legal assistance to non-profits to help them set up operations both within Ukraine and in surrounding countries, so that they could quickly and effectively respond to the humanitarian and refugee crises. Giving voice to those paying the price for the war and shining a light on how it has impacted vulnerable communities including LGBTQ+ people has been a core focus of our news coverage over the past year.
Antonio Zappulla, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, said: “As we mark the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, our thoughts are with those whose lives have been lost and upended as a result of this catastrophic conflict. The war has sparked a litany of crises around the world, triggered a grave deterioration in human rights and threatened the very survival of independent media.
As the war continues, the Thomson Reuters Foundation remains steadfast in its commitment to foster more inclusive economies, advance media freedom and protect human rights by supporting our partners so that they can continue their vital work. During these grave times, it has never been more critical for the global community to come together to protect those most vulnerable to the fallout.”
Andrii Dikhtiarenko, Chief Editor of Realna Gazeta, said: “At the start of the invasion, the work of the local and national media was paralysed due to a lack of understanding as to what to do. Should we be saving ourselves and our loved ones, or dropping everything and going to the frontline as volunteers, fighters or journalists?
War has a very disorientating effect – people do not know what to do, what threats are significant, or where to get help. We focused on reorganising, learning to work remotely and building a new line of media products relevant to the wartime context so that we could support our communities and Ukraine.
At Realna Gazeta, we are committed to analysing what is happening on the ground and reporting the truth. With support from the Thomson Reuters Foundation, we are able to fulfil our mission.”
“The crisis in Ukraine has given rise to one of the largest population displacements in Europe since World War II and driven a significant increase in humanitarian needs,” said Anna Garella, Regional Director of Operations at Action Against Hunger. “Legal support from the Thomson Reuters Foundation at the beginning of the crisis allowed us to respond by opening projects in Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Moldova. Today we have helped more than 650,000 people in the region”.