+ Crisis/emergency resources
This page is regularly updated with crisis and emergency resources available to media and journalists. The list currently includes resources specific to the current crisis Ukraine.
It is an informal forum for sharing information on journalists in distress and developing joint initiatives for emergency response. It was formed in 2006 to allow international organisations with freedom of expression mandates to more easily discuss specific cases, coordinate joint efforts, and avoid duplication.
National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) is launching a network of journalistic solidarity centers to help media workers during the war. These centers are open in Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi, in the headquarters of the regional organisations of NUJU. The centers are open to all journalists operating in Ukraine. They can be used as newsrooms, but will also be used to provide training for journalists. In case of emergency, journalists evacuated from the fighting territories will be provided with timely material and financial assistance.
Ukrainian and foreign journalists who are in the war zone or any other region of Ukraine will be able to contact the Centers for support.Small office spaces are available for journalists, with internet connection. The three centres will also serve as distribution points for protective equipment and first aid kits.
The project is implemented with the support of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and in partnership with the Independent Media Union of Ukraine (IMTUU). Resources to assist Ukrainian media workers are provided by international partners – journalists’ associations and unions, media companies and institutions.
- Assisting in search of evacuation possibilities for journalists and their families;
- Shelter places in Lviv that provide a roof over one’s head, shower, laundering facilities, and basic food supplies;
- Workplaces, internet connection, and device charger stations;
- Professional mental health support that includes personal appointments;
- Assisting in search of gear equipment and means of personal protection;
- Financial support for content creation and internet hosting;
- Gathering information about additional needs of editorial boards and searching for means to fulfill them;
- Providing work equipment for editorial boards;
- Ready-to-use textual and visual guideline assets to maintain information hygiene;
- Lviv Media Center (20 Ruska Street) coordinates foreign reporters and provides local fixers.
The centre will, amongst other things, be providing training in physical safety and first aid to journalists attending in person or by video-conference.
The Assistance Desk of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) provides financial and administrative assistance to professional journalists and citizen-journalists who have been the victims of reprisals because of their reporting. RSF helps:
- the victims of violence connected with their reporting to obtain appropriate medical care
- wrongfully prosecuted journalists to pay their legal fees
- threatened journalists to find a safe refuge journalists to resolve their most urgent needs if they decide to flee abroad because of threats and persecution
- families of journalists to cope with the consequences of the reprisals to which their loved-ones have been exposed.
When the results of its research allows, RSF may also support applications for international protection or asylum submitted by professional journalists and citizen-journalists who have fled their country.
RSF is also in a position to support the activities of media outlets and local NGOs that defend the media or freedom of information. This assistance is intended to help media outlets and NGOs to maintain or restore operational capacity in the event of problems (such as attacks, ransacking and vandalism). It may also contribute to capacity-building and development:
- by facilitating training for their employees or members
- by supporting campaigns and lobbying for freedom of information and for the protection of information providers.
The processing of applications for support and capacity-building requires more examination and preparation, and is therefore not as fast as the processing of applications by media outlets and NGOs that have been the victims of attacks or vandalism.
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee is providing professional and free legal assistance, from counselling to representation, to Ukrainian refugees . On February 24 the Hungarian government recognised the vast majority of people fleeing Ukraine as eligible for temporary protection. Read more about the decree here. You can contact the Committee at [email protected] or facebook.com/helsinkibizottsag.
Czech-based NGO People In Need can help to cover costs for relocations and provide support regarding visa and invitations. Their team is mostly working in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, both in the territory under the control of the Ukrainian government and in non-government controlled areas. The aid focuses on those in the greatest need, who have often lost everything. The organisation provides financial assistance to buy the basic necessities of life, hygiene kits, or food parcels with flour, oil, salt and sugar.
In cooperation with partner organisation People in Need Slovakia, the organisation has had a team working on the Slovak-Ukrainian border since 26th February. Humanitarian workers in Ukraine near Velky Berezny—where the situation is critical— built facilities for people waiting for border control. You can read more about their efforts here.
Leading independent media in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, who form part of the International Press Institute’s (IPI) Central Europe Independent Media Network, have offered to support displaced journalists who may end up in their countries by hosting them in their newsrooms.
IPI's partners have already offered support in different ways, for example by promoting fundraising efforts to support Ukrainian media, and in the case of Gazeta Wyborcza by hosting refugees in their offices.
"Newsrooms have also offered to provide working space, use of technology and editorial resources to displaced journalists. In some cases, the newsrooms would be able to host multiple journalists, allowing small teams to stay together. The situation remains uncertain and it is not clear how many journalists will be forced to flee and where they will move to, but IPI is coordinating the offers of support to ensure it can be given when needed."
Journalists from Ukraine or Russia who wish to be put in contact with one of the partner newsrooms can email [email protected]. They are also happy to hear from other newsrooms who would be happy to host displaced journalists.
All hotlines (communication channels) are open for members of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine and all media outlets. Reception of messages is accepted:
Journalists receiving threats may have to flee their homes in a matter of a few hours. Conflicts, though, are often foreseeable and that’s why those in fragile regions should have an exit plan in place and crucial documents ready to go. These documents will not just help reporters with travel, when needed, but may also help them to move to a safer region or country. The Global Investigative Journalism Network has listed what documents to gather as well as which organizations support journalists with relocation.
SAFE equips individuals with the means to resiliently continue their important work, and manage—as well as mitigate—the risks and threats they face in their day-to-day work. SAFE addresses safety through the unique lens of digital identity, physical awareness, and psychosocial care by delivering trainings in five regions spanning the globe.
The conflict in Ukraine presents numerous challenges to local and international journalists and news organisations in how to cover the Russian military invasion safely and securely. A number of media support organisations are making resources freely available to help guide journalists on the ground and news editors working from outside the country. This article by the World Association of News Publisher presents key resources to guide journalists and news organisations to safely provide coverage of the Ukraine crisis.
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has compiled recommendations to mitigate risks when reporting from the front lines of a conflict. "All war correspondents should have hostile environment training, up-to-date medical training, and the correct safety equipment before going on assignment in a conflict zone."
"Covering certain stories–such as human rights abuses, corruption, or civil unrest–can place you at a higher risk of arrest and detention, particularly in countries with authoritarian regimes or with a heavy militarized and police presence."
Thomson Foundation has created a unique easy to access course for local journalists available via the encrypted messaging service Telegram with the help of chemical and biological weapons expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon.
‘Reacting to a chemical attack’ is designed to take just 15 minutes or less on a smartphone. The course will guide users on the types of chemical and biological weapons that have been used in recent years and how to recognise them. Typical symptoms are listed alongside what to do in the event of a chemical attack.
The course is designed for local journalists in particular as they may not have access to the safety experts and kit (such as gas masks) that are available to staff working for large international news organisations.
The course is available only on smartphones via Telegram. It is available in both Ukrainian and English.
- Cybersecurity consulting to protect the Ukrainian media space
- Unblocking Facebook and Instagram accounts, providing further assistance to prevent social media assets from being banned
Facebook has established a Special Operations Center to respond to activity across the platform in real time. It is staffed by experts from across the company, including native speakers, to allow them to closely monitor the situation so they can remove content that violates their Community Standards faster. They have also launched a new feature in Ukraine that allows people to lock their profile to provide an extra layer of privacy and security protection over their information.
Last week the FB Media Partnerships Team launched a Journalist Safety Campaign which includes a new web destination for Journalist Safety and guides available in multiple languages that explain the content in the attachment (ex: setting up 2FA, reporting harassment, etc.). These guides will be updated as the content is updated moving forward.
If you are the victim of a DDOS attack, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) can refer your organisation to Cloudflare, an American web infrastructure and website security company that provides content delivery network and DDoS mitigation services. Cloudflare offers pro-bono protections against DDOS attacks for organisations referred by NED. For assistance, please contact [email protected].
If your media or journalism organisation’s Twitter account has been taken down or blocked by malicious actors, the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) can help reestablish your account by contacting Twitter to help verify your work and status. Please contact us on [email protected] and explain your situation.
DW Freedom (Twitter), a project of Deutsche Welle highlights complex issues surrounding free speech, free expression and a free press around the world. In connection with the ongoing crisis in Ukraine they recommend a series of articles they have published on circumventing censorship and moving unrecognised on the internet.
DW Innovation also recommends accessing InfoMigrants, “a news and information site for migrants to counter misinformation at every point of their journey: in their country of origin, along the route, or in the places where they hope to start a new life.” The site is a joint-venture of DW, ANSA and France Médias Monde.
No Ukrainian or Russian language service has been established yet, but the war in Eastern Europe is already being covered in the English language news.
"Journalists should protect themselves and their sources by keeping up to date on the latest digital security news and threats such as hacking, phishing, and surveillance. Journalists should think about the information they are responsible for and what could happen if it falls into the wrong hands, and take measures to defend their accounts, devices, communications, and online activity."
Risks are inherent in using any form of communication tool when speaking truth to power. Satellite communication tools are often rolled out quickly during crises as they provide critical access and are difficult – but not impossible – to block. However, the risks of using these tools must be considered.
Internews has published a guide discussing threats which are widely applicable to 2-way satellite communications devices, such as satellite phones and pagers, Inmarsat BGANs, Starlinks, and VSAT terminals.
SATCOM threat-model UA_FINAL.pdf
- Anti-virus software - ESET: This is anti-virus software that works to protect your device against cyber intrusions such as malware attacks and data breaches. One ESET license can be installed on five different devices. Valid for three years.
- Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Protection - Cloudflare: Cloudflare provides robust security to enterprises that are targets of DDoS and other cyber-attacks. Project Galileo has made that same security available for at-risk public interest websites at no cost. In an effort to keep participants safe from potential backlash, Cloudflare will not publicly announce sites involved in Project Galileo without explicit permission.
- Virtual Private Network (VPN) - TunnelBear: TunnelBear encrypts your internet connection and protects your privacy, which prevents hackers or other nefarious actors from viewing or accessing your browsing activity, hiding your real IP address, and helps you to bypass internet censorship. Valid for one year.
From the article, "Experts advise that if you live in a place where shutdowns are a risk — and that risk is spreading — be prepared. Download VPNs and other apps; be sure to have a contingency plan, including a phone number that doesn’t rely on the internet to connect; and have a phone tree of important people to call should something happen."
To resolve digital emergencies, OTF's Rapid Response Fund works with partners who are highly sensitive to and well-aware of the specific needs and challenges of human rights activists, journalists, and the Internet freedom community.
Listed below are trusted service partners that offer technological services:
Terra Común is a Latin American network made up of a group of professionals and experts in free technologies, computer protection and training that promotes a comprehensive approach to privacy and digital security.
Their main objective is for the people they work with to manage their own protection without intermediaries, without expensive software licenses, and gradually strengthening their own capacities.
Tierra Común provides the following services:
- Advice: Consulting on digital security diagnosis and risk analysis and design of protocols and regulations in computing
- Information backup
- Communications receipt
- Trainings: Basic and advanced computer self-defense
- Technical support
- Web services: Website creation and security audit
Languages supported by Tierra Comun:
Greenhosts' web hosting services includes:
- Clustered web hosting
- Cloud platform
- Deflect anti-DDoS protection
- Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS)
- Real-time Monitoring
Qurium Media Foundation (QMF) is a Swedish digital forensic group that offers Rapid Response support. The pro-bono service is dedicated to independent media, investigative journalists and human rights activists in Internet repressive regimes that have been targets of digital attacks, or are likely to become a target due to its scope of work, and are in need of immediate support.
The support that Qurium assists with is classified in thee categories:
- Sanitation and audit of at-risk websites – cleaning and upgrading outdated and insecure websites to improve resilience against attacks
- Mentorship – a 3-6 months remote mentorship program to strengthen and improve existing organizational procedures in digital security. Available in English, Spanish and Arabic.
- Customized support during special events – secure hosting and close monitoring of websites of public interest under election periods, military coups, and situations of civil unrest.
Mitigation of ongoing attacks against websites, including:
- DDoS attacks
- Scanning and probing
- Brute-force attacks
- Unauthorized access
- Sanitation of compromised website – identification and removal of malware/backdoors as well as insecure code to prevent future attacks.
- Digital forensics – forensics investigation with focus on modus-operandi and attribution of targeted attacks, including:
- Website attacks (DDoS, unauthorized access, scanning, probing)
- Targeted phishing
- Internet blocking of websites and web applications – forensics investigation of Internet blocking with focus on how the blocking is taking place, by whom and by which means.
- Compromised mobile phones – digital forensics investigation of compromised mobile phones
Qurium may offer services that are not listed above, depending on its scope and the human resources available. If your needs don’t fit within the list of services, feel free to send an encrypted email to [email protected].
The Totem platform is built using the open-source Open edX MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) software. The platform has been carefully designed to be safe and privacy-preserving by collecting minimal data about its users and also using secure, modern encryption to prevent any eavesdropping.
The following are featured courses from Totem:
- Risk analysis
- Human rights documentation
- Device security
- How to protect your identity online
- How to be a journalist and manage your online privacy
- Tools for journalists to help identify their online abusers and the tactics that they use
- Why field research matters
- Going undercover on Instagram
- How to bypass internet censorship
- Good password management
- Secure messaging apps
- Phishing attacks
- How the internet works
In this article, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa interviews disinformation expert Jane Lytvynenko about Russian state propaganda and the war in Ukraine. Rowan Philip at the Global Investigative Journalism Network writes: "We now know that the US war in Vietnam was predicated on false claims about an attack on an American warship in the Gulf of Tonkin. Likewise, the 2003 invasion of Iraq was justified using choreographed — and ultimately baseless — claims that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. Has a similar campaign of disinformation been used too as a pretext for Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine?"
"Russia’s war against Ukraine has sparked an explosion of interest in what Moscow is up to around the world."
GIJN has therefore assembled a starter-toolkit to help journalists track Russian assets, political interference, and disinformation in their countries. They have gathered over 30 useful sites from oligarch planes to sanctions trackers, plus tools for following Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The Deutsche Welle Innovation Team has published a list of free DW resources to help readers stay clear of questionable content and/or help others access much needed information. They also have a dedicated fact checking team that “debunks, explains and uses in-depth research techniques to separate fact from fiction.” They already have and will continue to run special posts on fakes, propaganda, and the war.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has published an article detailing the legal aspects of ongoing situation in Ukraine. See Russia, Ukraine & International Law: On Occupation, Armed Conflict and Human Rights
Foreign Policy has mapped how a network of pro-Kremlin propaganda social media channels are being used to 'massage' the war online on Putin’s terms.
"Telegram may be a fairly marginal social media channel in the West, but—unlike Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube—it is one free of restrictions for state-backed propaganda campaigns in Russia, where it remains popular."
The site does not publish any data on the ongoing war in Ukraine, but instead provides longer-term and global context on military resources, conflicts, energy production and trade, political regimes and other relevant topics.
This tool, created by Brazilian Núcleo Jornalismo, an initiative that covers the impact of social networks on people's lives, "monitors a curated list of accounts on Twitter in order to increase discovery of reliable, actionable social media information about the war in Ukraine in 2022. By having a curated list, the tool helps to filter out the noise of disinformation, misinformation, memes and plagiarism surrounding the conflict."
The European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) "brings together fact-checkers, media literacy experts, and academic researchers to understand and analyse disinformation, in collaboration with media organisations, online platforms and media literacy practitioners."
EDMO has established a taskforce on disinformation about the war in Ukraine focusing on EU and EEA countries, as well as the western Balkans, "collecting and sorting relevant material covering various aspects such as fact-checking, investigations, rapid analysis, and research on disinformation campaigns, as well as specific media literacy initiatives."
This IJNet article summarises an interview with Ostap Yarysh, an international reporter with Voice of America’s Ukrainian Service based in Washington, D.C., and Tom Mutch, a freelance journalist covering crime and conflict on the ground in Kyiv. The article provides tips for reporting on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
In the age of information warfare, journalists must take extra precautions when reporting breaking news. The internet is full of user-generated content, dubious information and claims from unverified sources. Journalism.co.uk has rounded up a list of tools and resources for journalists who cover the Ukrainian war either for their publication or on social media.
Reuters Institute have published an article with tips from the 'Guardian' on live-blogging and covering breaking news on Ukraine. "Head of Editorial Innovation Chris Moran explains how he and his team have shaped the newspaper’s live blog to meet users’ needs."
"For journalists reporting on the war in Ukraine, awareness of historical context is particularly important. Vladimir Putin’s justification for the conflict is partly based on a misrepresentation of history, laid out in his infamous hour-long speech on 21 February as well as in a piece he wrote in July 2021. For journalists without an extensive background of reporting on Ukraine, these may be difficult issues to navigate." Find out more about how to report on Ukraine's history in this Reuters institute interview with Dr. Olivia Durand.
"Reporting violations in an active conflict, previously a daunting and life threatening task, has now become easier thanks to open-source reporting techniques. Thanks to much improved cameras in mobile phones, the digital media being uploaded by combatants themselves to social media and other sites online is now of a very high resolution. Couple that with the availability of high-quality satellite imagery and digital tools that let you sift through the masses of data being uploaded online, and reporters enjoy a much greater ability to investigate war crimes as they happen." Find out more on how to investigate war crimes in this GIJN article.
The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma has published an article focused on the importance of ethical reporting when it comes to children affected by the Ukraine conflict. Within this piece, Cengiz Yar, a documentary photographer, photo editor, and author of the “Syria’s children” documentary project, explains that “children's stories can often be communicated without focusing on the possibly traumatic event you're trying to cover. Asking simple questions that may not trigger a child in a traumatic situation, like their age, name, favorite food are ways to include the child in the report but without risking their well-being for your story." For more information on how to ethically report on children affected, check out the Dart Center's full tipsheet.
Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) has released an article with tips on how to archive Telegram messages on Russia-Ukraine war. With most social media and messaging platforms currently blocked or restricted, Telegram remains "one of the last social network applications fully accessible to internet users in Russia." Archiving content, GIJN writes, "ensures it can still be used by researchers if a user deletes a post, if a channel is removed, or if an entire platform becomes inaccessible." To learn exactly how to archive Telegram content, read the GIJN article here.
As social media platforms teem with misinformation around the Russian invasion of Ukraine, large amounts of the content online are false, making it difficult to distinguish between reliable and inaccurate information. In response, the International Journalist's Network (IJNet) has created a set of guidelines and tools "to help journalists report on the developments in Ukraine without falling victim to misinformation." For more information on manipulated video content, falsified photos, and misleading claims and quotes, read the full article from IJNet here.
Following the news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is difficult, especially if you’re not already extremely knowledgeable about the situation. Turning to Twitter may be the automatic reaction, but it’s not necessarily that helpful: The non-chronological-by-default timeline means news is presented out of order (here’s how you can fix that, if you’d like). This article compiles Twitter lists, Telegram chats, dropped paywalls/products made free, fact-Checking tools, maps and useful translations.
The Media Center Ukraine has been launched fllowing the efforts of communications experts, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The center will work to help against the foreign media warfare waged by Russian Ukraine, holding daily briefings with speakers, participants and experts. As reported by LMR and ArmiyaInform, foreign journalists working in Ukraine will be able to receive, registration of accreditation to be able to work in Ukraine, support in organization of interviews with spokespersons of ministries and departments, interaction opportuntiies with the Ukrainian authorities.
The Technology and Social Change Project at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center is "tracking moves by major technology companies and governments to limit the flow of misinformation. This includes state sponsored misinformation and content removed at the behest of governments, as people worldwide flock to social media to receive updates of the rapidly unfolding violence."
Bellingcat is tracking the use of cluster bombs in Ukraine. "Social media images and videos have allowed Bellingcat – along with other conflict monitors and open source researchers – to geolocate the impact sites of several cluster munitions to civilian areas within Ukraine." They have also been able to determine the probable direction from which the missiles came, providing a clue as to who may have fired them.
"Journalists' mental health is at risk when the news cycle is dominated by death, destruction and uprooted lives. Trauma therapist Olivia James shares soothing techniques and aftercare tips for reporters covering the toughest of news stories."
An increasing numbers of journalists are suffering from the effect of covering the war in Ukraine remotely. This article from Journalism.co.uk suggests 12 tips for covering traumatic stories remotely. From avoiding graphic images to connecting with colleagues, Hannah Storm (founder and co-director of Headlines Network) provides tips from her from my years working in media safety and mental health.
"A collaboration between ACOS Alliance and Dart Centre Asia Pacific, this guide is designed to help editors and managers understand and support their teams. It is divided into five sections covering both general information and specific suggestions and tips for working with freelancers."
This guide offers guidance on a numbers of key issues such as: culture of safety, exposition to trauma, resilience, risk of serious mental health issues.
"While scores of journalists were confronting trauma and danger to cover the Iraq War, a group of seasoned veterans of such assignments took a brief break to gather at Bretton Woods, N.H., and talk about the emotional challenges raised by their duties in the field."
"Journalists are generally resilient but they are not immune to trauma and distress, which Kinman said can lead to headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, intrusive thoughts, sleeping problems and nightmares. Some may miss deadlines because they can’t concentrate, or their time management skills may also deteriorate. They might experience panic attacks, anxiety, depression or substance abuse."
The Ukrainian Institute of Mass Information, a Kiev-based non-governmental organization whose objective is to defend journalists’ rights, to upgrade their professional skills and to consolidate press freedom in Ukraine, is monitoring and recording crimes against journalists and the media during the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Andrew Stroehlein, journalist, communications professional, and European media director of Human Rights Watch, outlines best practices and mistakes to avoid when reporting on issues such as war crimes against civilians, issues with the treatment of prisoners of war and the repression of free speech and of the media in Russia in this interview with the Reuters Institute.
The International Press Institute has launched a monitoring database, the Ukraine War Press Freedom Tracker, which systematically documents all attacks on journalists and restrictions on media freedom linked to the conflict in Ukraine, including in Russia.
European Digital Rights (EDRi), the biggest European network defending rights and freedoms online, has called on the international community to provide the necessary support to Ukraine and its human rights defenders to ensure people are protected from cyber threats. EDRi discusses the magnitude of cyber warfare, describinig it as "an assault on human rights" with "devastating effects on people’s privacy, freedom of expression, safety and security, and access to information."
From ad monetization to cable carriage, there’s a battle going on over the ways Russia gets its messaging out. Most of the international community is treating Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a gross violation of its sovereignty and international law. (Even the famously neutral Swiss are on board.) But the response being summoned isn’t just about economic sanctions or sending weapons — it’s also happening at the level of media.
Reuters Institute is updating several Twitter threads: