Public service media organizations across Europe are marking the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine this week.
Over the last year, public service broadcasters have played a critical role in providing trusted news and information to citizens both in Ukraine and across the continent.
For the anniversary (24 February), all our broadcasters will be reflecting on the origins and evolution of the war through hundreds of hours of television, radio and online news analysis. Many will have crews on the ground to offer extensive coverage of events in Kyiv and other cities in Ukraine.
Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC will play a particularly significant role on this anniversary, reflecting on how lives have been irrefutably changed by the events of the last year. Their TV and radio channels will be preparing stories on all aspects of the war including the refugee crisis, the role of volunteers in war zones, the work of war correspondents, and the impact on Ukrainian culture and music.
They will also be remembering those who have lost their lives in the war and providing a collection of audio ‘Brave Tales’ for children about the realities of this new era.
Several broadcasters, including GPB (Georgia), LRT (Lithuania) and TVP (Poland), will screen the award-winning UA:PBC documentary Bucha 22 as part of their schedule for the anniversary. And Rai radio (Italy) will be broadcasting live from UA:PBC studios speaking to UA:PBC presenter and manager Dmitry Khorkin.
In the culmination of two weeks of programming, BNT (Bulgaria) will see Alexander Markov - the first reporter to cover the outbreak of war in the field in Eastern Ukraine - broadcast a special 'War in Ukraine - several stories later'.
Broadcasters in many neighbouring countries will reflect on the experience of Ukrainian refugees who have been forced to flee across the border to seek shelter. For example, Slovakian television and radio will report throughout the week on how Ukrainians have settled into the country as well as Ukrainians who chose to stay, while Polish Radio will tell the stories of Ukrainian journalists in Poland whose lives have been transformed in the last 12 months.
Other broadcasters are uniting to offer support to the Ukrainian people. All Latvian broadcasting companies will simultaneously broadcast the Ukrainian anthem at noon on the 24th to mark a year since the invasion. While the Romanian Radio Orchestra will perform a ‘Life in a Suitcase’ concert with audience members invited to bring unused suitcases to be placed on the stage to highlight the predicament of the millions who fled Ukraine with just a suitcase.
Music is also bringing people together to reflect on this tragic anniversary. The EBU music community has been organizing special activities throughout the year to support Ukraine and several Members, such as Bulgarian National Radio, produced special concerts to mark World Radio Day – on the theme of peace - earlier in the month.
To mark the anniversary itself, the Prague Philharmonia and Philharmonic Choir will perform Benjamin Britten's War Requiem which will be broadcast live on Czech Radio, Radio Romania and CyBC Radio (Cyprus) and offered to all our EBU radio organizations; and we will be sharing the New York Met’s live ‘Concert of Remembrance and Hope’ for Ukraine.
TVP (Poland) will broadcast a musical event across all four channels featuring both Ukrainian musicians and international artists; Franceinfo canal 27 will dedicate their Nocturnal Melodies programme to six exiled Ukrainian musicians and feature a performance from the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra Choir from their studios; while Latvian TV will both be organizing a fund-raising concert for the people of Ukraine.
LRT (Lithuania) has led a national crowdfunding campaign RADAROM (Let's Radar) that has raised millions to provide air surveillance radars to protect Ukraine and its people. The campaign will culminate with a special day-long telethon and concert on the date of the anniversary.
EBU Director General Noel Curran said: “Throughout this terrible war, public service media have played a vital role in keeping the public informed. Our Members have stepped up to ensure trusted news and information continues to reach Ukrainian citizens both at home and abroad, and to keep audiences across the continent abreast of the latest developments in the war.
“I would like to pay particular tribute to our Ukrainian Member UA:PBC and all journalists who risk their lives every day to keep the news on-air. In times of war, the role of media is critical in showing what is happening brutally on the ground, in understanding the wider context of the war and in providing the public with accurate and timely information.
“I am very proud of how public service media organizations have responded to the war in Ukraine right across Europe.”
The EBU has joined partners of the Council of Europe’s Safety of Journalists’ Platform to remember colleagues who lost their lives while covering the war and those who have endured injury, abduction, torture and suffering. According to alerts published on the platform, to date, twelve journalists and media workers have been killed while covering the war, or in connection with their profession, and 23 others have been injured.