Ukrainian troops blocking a road in the capital Kyiv. (AFP/Sergei Supinsky)

As Russia invades Ukraine, risks mount for reporters covering conflict, CPJ calls for journalists’ protection

The Torch is a weekly newsletter from the Committee to Protect Journalists that brings you the latest press freedom and journalist safety news from around the world. Subscribe here.

As Russian forces invade Ukraine, Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, explains in a Q&A the possible risks for journalists on the ground, including being killed, injured, or taken hostage, and the potential challenges of reporting amid misinformation and disinformation. If a new pro-Kremlin regime is installed in Ukraine, it “would likely target journalists and activists, especially those critical of Russia—which would mean any independent journalist, from the Russian point of view.”

CPJ called Thursday for protection of journalists in Ukraine. “At this critical moment, it is crucial that all parties involved recognize that all journalists and media workers are civilians under international humanitarian law, and their rights must be respected and protected,” said CPJ Executive Director Robert Mahoney. “With disinformation increasingly becoming a common tool for warfare, the work of journalists and the flow of free and independent information must be protected, in keeping with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2222 (2015) on the protection of journalists and media professionals working in conflict areas.”

Journalists covering the conflict and related unrest should consult the following safety advice, available in multiple languages:

If you are a journalist in need of emergency assistance, please contact [email protected]

Global press freedom updates

  • Turkish journalist Güngör Arslan killed
  • Security forces detain two more journalists in northern Syria
  • Ethiopia ends emergency, but pursues new cases against three detained journalists
  • Attorney general in Brazil files criminal defamation complaint against journalist Thiago Herdy
  • Spanish court orders investigation of four journalists over testimony in police abuse case
  • Pakistan expands prison terms for online defamation to five years
  • CPJ condemns “harsh” nine-year sentence for Nicaraguan journalist Miguel Mendoza
  • CPJ calls on President Aliyev to protect press freedom, journalist safety in Azerbaijan


This week, A Safer World For The Truth, an initiative of which CPJ is a core member, and openDemocracy released the latest podcast episode in the “Killing the Truth” series. The episode follows the case of slain Gambian journalist Deyda Hydara, managing editor and co-owner of The Point, as well as a correspondent for Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Reporters without Borders (RSF). Hydara was shot to death on December 16, 2004, two days after the Gambian National Assembly passed two contentious pieces of media legislation that Hydara, along with other local independent journalists had strongly opposed. He was also known for writing articles critical of the government.

Listen to the latest episode here and on Spotify here, and keep an eye out this coming Monday, February 28, for the release of A Safer World For The Truth’s latest investigative report on the 2011 murder of journalist Gerardo Ortega in the Philippines.

Before the Winter Olympics wrapped up Sunday, CPJ signed onto a joint letter led by the Sports & Rights Alliance to Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, calling on the committee to address the critical human rights issues, including press freedom, around Beijing 2022 and prevent similar abuses at all future events.

A closer look | CPJ’s most-read features in February

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