Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has thanked UK journalists and said that the world’s media attention is essential to giving “life a chance to win” in Ukraine, in a keynote address to the Society of Editors conference.
In an exclusive video address to attendees at the Society’s Media Freedom Conference held in London on Wednesday 15 March 2023, Zelensky paid tribute to the “strength” of journalists reporting on the war and said that, now the first anniversary of the Russian invasion had passed, worldwide media coverage remained essential to ensuring that crimes committed in Ukraine do not “pass without a trace.”
Zelensky said: “Since the beginning of this brutal Russian aggression, Russia’s full-scale genocidal war against Ukraine, we have issued more than 15,000 accreditations to foreign journalists so that they can work freely in Ukraine – from different countries, from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. Newspapers and television, news outlets and reporters, new media and long-established powerful brands. I am glad that there are many British representatives among them. We opened Ukrainian life up to the maximum number of eyes for the world to see and for the world to tell the story and for the world to give voice to Ukrainian life.”
Praising the ability of media coverage to “bring wars to life” and “give a voice” to Ukrainian citizens, Zelensky said that continued coverage remained essential to documenting the reality of life in Ukraine since the invasion.
He added: “Regardless of what time it is – happy or dramatic, peace or war, every moment is made up of human stories, of what people lived through and experienced, gained and lost, felt and achieved. Time passes and, in passing, it can carry away everything so dear to people and to humanity as such. Being able to fill life with words is being able to protect life and fight for it and give life a chance to win.”
Now that the first anniversary of the Russian invasion has passed, Ukraine needs the world’s attention “even more than before”, he said.
He added: “Now more than ever your ability is needed to give voice to life. It is needed for Ukraine to say that “we can win” and for Ukrainians to say that we can restore justice, so that the terrorist state feels that it will be punished, so that our partners in the world hear that Ukraine is grateful for support.
“I urge you to come to Ukraine, to spread the truth about Russian aggression, support our defence and give Ukrainian life a voice.”
The one-day event, held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel in London, brought together more than 150 leading editors and journalists from all sectors of the UK news media industry to discuss the future of news and the vital role, opportunities and challenges facing the UK news media industry.
The high-profile news conference also heard from BBC journalist and presenter Clive Myrie, Alison Phillips, Editor of the Daily Mirror, LBC presenter Rachel Johnson and The Sunday Times’ Editor Ben Taylor. The conference also saw Clive Myrie, one of the BBC’s most experienced foreign correspondents, presented with a Special Fellowship Award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism.
The Society’s conference was sponsored by Camelot, the Google News Initiative, Cision, UK Power Networks and the UCLan Journalism, Innovation and Leadership programme.
Photos and news reports from the Media Freedom Conference can be found at www.societyofeditors.org.
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