Last year, the Belarusian Association of Journalists won the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. 46 countries, as well as many journalistic organizations globally, nominated BAJ for this award. Among them was the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, BAJ’s close partner.
On 24 February last year, Ukraine faced a brutal and inhumane attack initiated by Russia. Among thousands of innocent victims, the journalistic community also suffered big human losses.
Yet, despite the shelling of peaceful cities, attacks and shootings of journalists and entire film crews, the seizure and destruction of media offices by Russian invaders, Ukrainian journalists have shown extraordinary courage and professionalism. Risking their lives every day, they do their best to convey the real picture of the war to the Ukrainian public and the world.
From the first minutes of the full-scale war, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine switched to a round-the-clock work mode. Evacuation from the battlefields, organizing protective equipment, resettlement and support programs, relocation of journalists and their families from the occupied territories, providing support for editorial offices and individual journalists, sharing important information and protective gear with foreign journalists in Ukraine, opening Journalists Solidarity Centers around the country, and a huge amount of technical assistance for media workers – this is just a small portion of what NUJU has done over the past year.
Moreover, in 2021-2022, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, as a long-standing and reliant partner of the BAJ, keenly helped Belarusian independent media workers who had to flee Belarus because of repression.
Considering the above, as well as the years-long NUJU contribution to press freedom defense, the Belarusian Association of Journalists decided to nominate the Ukrainian partner for the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.