On April 9th, 2022, Zamaneh Media joined over 100 organizations from all over the world in expressing solidarity with all journalists and independent media covering Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The declaration was launched at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy, and is an initiative of the festival and the Global Forum for Media Development.
Well over 600 people gathered in Perugia in the first week of April 2022 for what some referred to as the “Davos of Journalism”, the International Journalism Festival. The festival every year brings together media outlets, media development organizations, donors, students of journalism and many others from all over the world to discuss developments in the field of journalism. This year, the situations in Ukraine and Afghanistan featured prominently on the agenda.
The Perugia Declaration for Ukraine was presented at the conference on behalf of 145 organizations and an equal number of individual signatories so far. Zamaneh Media, present at the conference, supports the declaration. The statement calls on all states and the international community to protect and support journalists and independent media in the crisis and for an end to violence against journalists:
The targeting, torturing, and killing of journalists is abhorrent and must be stopped. Those responsible must be held accountable and brought to justice under national and international law. Vicious online attacks against news organizations and individual journalists must also cease. We condemn Russia’s attacks on press freedom and freedom of expression in Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. The safety and security of all journalists to report freely are essential to ensure that the world understands the reality and facts of the ongoing war, including the humanitarian consequences.
The declaration goes on to also recognize the dire implications of the war for independent media and journalists in Russia and Belarus. And while the war in Ukraine led to the declaration, the various recommendations to a wide range of stakeholders, including governments worldwide, and also tech companies, media support groups and the media sector itself, go much further. The Declaration recognizes independent journalism as a “powerful antidote to the disinformation and propaganda that characterize hybrid warfare, and as a pillar of democracy upon which other freedoms and rights depend.” It is a “public good” that merits defense in any part of the world and in any context.
Zamaneh Media’s Executive Director, Joris van Duijne, commented saying:
“Of course, we stand with journalists and independent media and we will do what we can to support them, by ourselves and together with our partners and friends. That is true in any circumstance. But in crises such as the ones we see today, we are all reminded once again that independent and public interest media serve such an important watchdog role in holding to account those in power, in providing access to critical information and protecting human life and rights, including democratic ones.”
“I am thrilled that so many organizations and people support this declaration. And also that its implications reach so much further than the war in Ukraine alone. Every single recommendation is relevant to other contexts too, such as the horrifying developments in Yemen, Afghanistan and so many other places. With conflict, but also with ever growing authoritarian tendencies, I expect to see an increase in the number of independent media forced into exile in the coming months and years. We stand ready to offer our support, but I can only hope others do too and that this support is sustained.”