Amid Ukraine crisis, WAN-IFRA president urges support for independent media

2022-03-11. “In the interest of trust in our craft, and for all our futures, I urge you to pledge your support for our work that keeps journalists safe, journalism independent, and the public informed” Fernando de Yarza, President, WAN-IFRA

Fernando de Yarza López-Madrazo, President, WAN-IFRA

by WAN-IFRA External Contributor | March 11, 2022

From a coup d’état in Myanmar to the crisis in Afghanistan and the current tragedy unfolding in Ukraine, over the last 12 months our members have been incredibly generous in their offers of support to WAN-IFRA. Many have asked us how best they can assist in these troubled times. In response, WAN-IFRA president, Fernando de Yarza, today launched a dedicated fund to support media in crisis.

“We are facing the worst crisis in Europe since the Second World War, with uncomfortable parallels to the conditions that led to the formation of FIEJ – now WAN-IFRA – in 1948.

Then, scarred by years of propaganda and lacking a way to reach across borders in support of democracy, editors and news publishers from France and the Netherlands came together to form an association that would safeguard freedom of expression. They started FIEJ – la Fédération Internationale des Éditeurs de Journaux – to promote dialogue and exchange information and ideas between representatives of the newspaper community worldwide.

Seventy-four years on, much has changed. FIEJ has evolved into WAN-IFRA – the World Association of News Publishers – and the digital revolution has given every citizen easy access to news.  Yet today, similar challenges still confront us.

Freedom of the press is under attack and solidarity and support is needed to ensure independent journalism and news media can continue during this challenging time. Propaganda and disinformation are once again dividing our societies. Yet again, the media find themselves caught in the midst of both physical and ideological confrontations.

In the interest of trust in our craft, and for all our futures, I urge you to pledge your support for our work that keeps journalists safe, journalism independent, and the public informed.”

WAN-IFRA’s ‘We, the media‘ campaign aims to support efforts to defend and promote press freedom advocacy, journalist safety, diversity, quality journalism, media viability and independence, wherever it is threatened.

Funds raised will support members and non-members alike facing challenges to their ability to produce news, craft public interest journalism, and promote diverse and under-represented voices. Whether to assist in today’s crisis, or to address tomorrow’s threats, the fund will remain open for anyone who wishes to contribute and will complement existing programmes and member contributions.

Funds raised via the campaign will contribute to:

  • Emergency financial assistance to journalists in crisis areas (salaries, basic humanitarian needs, assistance with displacement and/or evacuation costs, legal fees, etc.) ;
  • Emergency support to media organisations (keeping the lights on and the presses rolling, newsprint sourcing, digital infrastructure support, payroll, administrative costs, safety equipment, communications, etc.) ;
  • Reporting grants (keeping public interest journalism alive) ;
  • Safety training, health and mental wellbeing for editors and journalists ;
  • Local Media Freedom Committees (activities to strengthen industry collaboration, overcome challenges and address local needs) ;
  • Local advocacy on the international stage (amplifying voices, covering all angles, building consensus, finding solutions) ;
  • Missions, delegations, skills support and mentoring (high-profile encounters with heads of state, global leaders and policy makers on behalf of the industry; skills exchanges between media companies to navigate challenges together) ;
  • Editorial skills training (making the latest innovations, highest standards and best practices available to all media) ;
  • Business training (stable, viable, sustainable business solutions to safeguard the free flow of information and stand up to press freedom challenges).

Visit the dedicated ‘We, the media’ campaign page for more details.

WAN-IFRA External Contributor

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