Mar 15, 2022 - World

War grows dangerous for journalists in Ukraine and Russia

Journalists surround Volodymyr Matseliukh, mayor of the Ukrainian city of Novoiavorivsk (right), with his interpreter (left) at a press conference following a missile attack in the region. Photo: Vincenzo Circosta/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

An increasing number of journalists are being killed, attacked, or threatened covering the war in Ukraine. Independent journalists are also facing threats trying to cover the conflict factually from Russia.

Why it matters: Journalists covering the invasion are considered civilians under international humanitarian law. Targeting them can be considered a war crime.

Driving the news: Fox News journalist Benjamin Hall was injured while reporting outside of Kyiv on Monday and is hospitalized, the network said Monday.

  • Fox News hosts took to Twitter to send their colleague prayers and best wishes. Details about Hall's condition remained unclear.
  • The news came just one day after the killing of Brent Renaud, a Peabody award-winning filmmaker who was on assignment for Time in Ukraine.
  • News leaders are calling for an investigation into Renaud's death as a possible war crime.

The big picture: Renaud was the second journalist confirmed to have been killed in Ukraine since Russian forces invaded the country on Feb. 24.

  • A Ukrainian camera operator was killed when a TV tower was shelled last week.
  • Russian forces opened fire on Western journalists from Sky News last week.
  • Other journalists "have been shot at, shelled, robbed, and detained by Russian forces" the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) notes.

Between the lines: For independent journalists in Russia, a new "fake news" law has made it impossible to do their jobs without risking up to 15 years of jail time.

  • The CPJ said Russian authorities had so far detained at least 14 journalists covering anti-war protests.

Be smart: Most news organizations so far have yet to pull their journalists from Ukraine, but they have been more proactive about pulling staffers from Russia, given the legal threat journalists face there.

  • The New York Times, for example, said last week it would pull all of its journalists out of Russia, but it kept journalists on the ground covering the war in Ukraine, as did other news organizations.

The big picture: Instances of journalists being targeting during Russia's invasion "is a reminder to the world of why a free and independent press is so important and worthy of protection and support," said Jen Judson, president of the National Press Club and Gil Klein, president of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, in a joint statement.

What to watch: More than two dozen governments, including the U.S., have spoken out in support of press freedom surrounding the war.

Go deeper