BAJ Calls on International Organizations to Protect Journalism Standards
As part of Europe’s most recent armed conflict in two decades, the Russian-Ukrainian clash is highlighting the problem of journalism’s mission and responsibilities. Journalists have suffered in many ways and have been killed while covering wars around the world. But not every war threatens journalism as a profession.
An important aspect of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict includes an information war characterized by the outrageous falsification of reality and manipulation of public opinion. Some Russian journalists openly admit that instructions for distorting the facts on the ground are being sent from their managers in Moscow. In Russia itself, a number of journalists have spoken out against participating in this aggressive propaganda, which has led to an initiative to create an independent professional union.
The impact of the information war is reaching far beyond the borders of the conflict between the two countries. Through television and the Internet, the information war is directly influencing public opinion in neighboring countries, including Belarus. This is why we believe that the coverage of the ongoing events in eastern Ukraine demands urgent attention and assessment by international journalism organizations.
International monitoring and assessment of the standards of reporting on the conflict must immediately be launched in order to avoid the degradation of professional standards and its consequences on journalism and public opinion around the world.
We call on the International Federation of Journalists, the European Federation of Journalists, the Association of European Journalists, the European Broadcasting Union, the International Press Institute, and other professional organizations to immediately undertake monitoring of the coverage of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, to assess how the principles of journalism ethics are being followed, and to insist on the upholding of professional standards in order to stop the audacious abuse of mass media by the politicians behind this information war.
Adopted by the Board of BAJ