SPJ Foundation creates fund to support Ukrainian journalists
Hagit Limor, SPJ Foundation President
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Specialist, 317-920-4785, firstname.lastname@example.org
LAS VEGAS — The Society of Professional Journalists is establishing a fund through its Foundation to support Ukrainian journalists as they continue reporting during the Russian invasion.
“A key part of SPJ’s mission is to improve and protect journalism and to encourage a climate in which journalism can be practiced freely. This is difficult enough in a war zone but doubly so when journalists become targets just for doing their jobs," said SPJ Foundation President Hagit Limor.
Russian forces invading Ukraine have targeted groups of journalists with drones and sniper fire. Sixty-six Ukrainian journalists have been killed, 10 while carrying out their professional duties. Russian secret police have arrived in newly occupied areas with lists of journalists to arrest. Twenty-two journalists have been kidnapped. Most are still being held in occupied areas.
The invasion also has forced 233 media outlets to close, some because of shelling, with other television facilities and editorial offices seized, including all the equipment necessary for reporting.
“SPJ believes the free flow of information is vital to a well-informed citizenry,” said Limor. “Contributions to this fund will help buy new equipment for journalists to use. It will help publications to reopen to deliver vital information citizens there need. They deserve the insight that can only come from local journalists who are able to report independently.”
SPJ is distributing the funds with the help of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine. Funding so far has helped cover the costs of re-establishing an existing newspaper in a newly liberated area, replaced gear or provided new equipment to help Ukrainian journalists continue reporting, and gave emergency donations to journalists whose apartments were destroyed in the recent Russian missile attacks.
Many SPJ chapters already have contributed, including the Deadline Club, New Jersey Pro Chapter, New England Pro Chapter and SPJ Florida. Individual SPJ members have also taken action, visiting Kyiv in June 2023 to bring $15,000 worth of gear for local journalists.
The Ukraine Journalists Fund is tax-exempt and 100% of the money goes to helping local Ukrainian journalists continue to do their jobs. You can donate here.
SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.