The Ukraine Media Fund was established in March 2022 as an expression of solidarity with journalists and photojournalists covering daily events from the frontline in Ukraine. Aimed at providing financial and resource support, the fund was jointly created by Polish media company Agora, and Sweden’s Bonnier News, through the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation. Media organisations from Poland, Finland, Denmark and Norway quickly joined the project.
In the 12 months since inception, the fund has raised more than EUR 877 000.
Initially, the funds were used to purchase equipment necessary for individual journalists and media organisations working in war zones. It was also used to provide financial support, and to relocate journalists to Poland and other EU countries.
“At first we sent them bulletproof vests, helmets, goggles, first aid kits… then, computers. Today, we focus on helping local and regional media, which have seen a significant drop in revenue,” explains Jaroslaw Slizewski, managing director of UMF.
“Journalists do not get paid regularly, so UMF pays them stipends every 1-2 months. Since the spring, we have been steadily supporting more than 170 people from remote cities and regions of Ukraine in this way – we are trying to fill a gap in the system.”
Founded by Bonnier News and Agora Media, it is further supported by four northern European media organisations: Tidningsutgivarna from Sweden, Medialiitto from Finland, Mediebedriftene from Norway and Danske Medier from Denmark.
“We greatly value our partnership with the Ukrainian Media Fund, which provides economic support to Ukrainian local newsrooms,” says Serhyi Tomilenko, President of the Union of Ukrainian Journalists (Національна спілка журналістів України), one of the closest UMF partners in Ukraine. “The most pressing issue now is the economic sustainability of the media in Ukraine, which is necessary for journalists to continue to do their extremely important work, especially during the war.”
The Gazetta Wyborcza Foundation, together with the Gazetta Wybrocza newsroom, were awarded WAN-IFRA’s Golden Pen of Freedom in 2022 for their work supporting independent journalism and press freedom in the region.
If you would like to support WAN-IFRA’s media freedom initiatives, visit our We-The-Media campaign.