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UNESCO To Distribute Protective Gear, Offer Warzone Training For Journalists Covering the Ukraine War

Ukraine
(Image credit: istockphoto)

NEW YORK—UNESCO, the United Nation’s agency focused on security and world peace, will equip journalists covering the Russian-Ukrainian War with an initial 125 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) and training on working in a warzone.

Since March 13, three journalists have perished in the conflict—Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski, Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra Kuvshynova and filmmaker and New York Times contributor Brent Renaud. On March 1, Ukrainian cameraman Yevhenii Sakun was killed. According to media reports, more than 30 have been injured.

“Every day, journalists and media workers are risking their lives in Ukraine to provide life-saving information to local populations and inform the world of the reality of this war,” said Audrey Azoulay, director-general of UNESCO in a media announcement of the initiative. “We are determined to support and protect them in every way possible. UNESCO has been resolutely committed to this since the beginning of the crisis, in close collaboration with its international partners and local professionals.”

The U.N. agency has called for journalists, techs and other media professional to be respected as civilians in a conflict zone and for refraining from attacks on media infrastructure since the war began, it said.

The PPEs, which include bullet-proof vests and helmets, will be distributed next week by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) via its Press Freedom Centre in L’viv and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

A manual, being translated into Ukrainian and available in other languages, on working as a journalist in hostile environments will be distributed. Online courses on Hostile Environment and First Aid Training (HEFAT) and psychological trauma are being organized by UNESCO, IFJ and RSF. A 24-hour-a-day hotline also is being set up by the National Union of Journalists in Ukraine for journalists to call if they require help evacuating a danger zone, it said.

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.