NUJ holds international solidarity event

  • 17 May 2022

Global threats to journalists and journalism spanning Ukraine, Yemen and Palestine were explored in the union’s webinar with the IFJ.

Jeremy Dear, IFJ deputy general secretary, welcomed delegates to the union’s international solidarity event exploring threats to journalists and journalism around the world. Planned to coincide in the same month as World Press Freedom Day, Jeremy opened the webinar as chair, by paying tribute to all journalists standing up for media freedom. 

Recognising the serious toll war has had on journalists globally, he introduced Lina Kushch, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine's (NUJU) first secretary .


In her opening address, Lina thanked members for support they had offered to the union including donations to the IFJ/European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) safety fund, that had helped the evacuation of hundreds of journalists from war zones.  She described efforts by NUJ members as “inspiring to see” as Ukrainian journalists risked their lives reporting. Sombre statistics including that one in ten journalists had been left homeless in Ukraine, highlighted the impact war has had on individuals.

Safety fund donations and NUJU’s ability to act as a lifeline has meant that more than 150 journalists have received emergency financial assistance and many editorial officers now have access to laptops. 

Lina said:

“Most Ukrainian journalists lacked experience in covering war. Therefore, there was a great need to protect and train journalists. We developed and shared safety guidelines and half of the participants were listening to us from bomb shelters.”

NUJ members were urged to continue sharing stories from Ukrainian journalists amplifying voices and the reality of war. Efforts to condemn propaganda materials from Russia also play an important part in ensuring accurate stories are shared. 


Referencing the poor coverage the war in Yemen receives in Western media, Jeremy described it as a silent one but “no less damaging for journalists and journalism than other wars.”

Sami Al- Ansi, a Yemeni journalist based in Sweden and forced to leave in 2015, stated “press freedom has been under attack for years.” He cited 1450 cases of breaches against press freedom including murder, kidnappings, the closure of newspapers and a failure by authorities and government to pay journalists salaries owed for their work. Sami told delegates that 44 journalists had been killed since the war began in Yemen, and that the targeting of media workers occurred in areas controlled by both the Houthi authorities and the recognised Yemeni government. 

As the safety and protection of journalists in the country could not be ensured, and attacks on freedom of expression are frequent, many journalists have been displaced since the war began. 

No clearer example of the unfair treatment of journalists is that of four men sentenced to death five years after their arrest for reporting of human rights violations committed by the Houthi authorities. Abdulakhleq Amran, Akram Al-Waleedi, Hareth Humaid and Tawifq Al-Mansoori  have been prevented from seeing their families, and are subject to poor conditions in detention with detrimental impacts on their health. 

The NUJ is urging members to sign an open letter calling for the release of all four journalists. Sign the open letter. 


The recent killing of Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli forces  is the latest in the targeting of Palestinian journalists. 

Jennifer Robinson, a lawyer from Doughty Street Chambers leading work on a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) about the targeting of journalists in Palestine, recognised the important role journalists played in reporting conflict. She stated reporting was used as a tool to hold governments to account, and thereby protect other citizens. This in part, is why so many are targeted. NUJ members were also reminded that the domestic pressure from unions in pushing back, helped in briefings to governments and demonstrating the strength of feeling behind issues. 

The submission to the ICC on behalf of the IFJ, Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate and International Centre of Justice for Palestinians, alleges war crimes by Israel’s forces and the systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists. It’s submitted on behalf of four victims killed or maimed by Israeli snipers whilst wearing Press vests. It is hoped a prosecution will act as a deterrent to governments around the world intent on persecuting journalists for their work. 

Jennifer said:

“If you are attacked while wearing a press vest, like Shireen Abu Akleh, it is quite clearly unlawful and potentially a war crime” 

Jeremy urged members to continue their support for IFJ  and NUJ campaigns, thanking "NUJ members for the donations once again made to an IFJ solidarity fund." He said "international solidarity is not just a word you talk about. It’s something very practical and heartfelt and built into the DNA of the IFJ.”

Watch the full webinar below.


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