The humanitarian crisis currently unfolding in Ukraine shocks us all. The violence, the devastation, the innocent civilian victims. There are no words.
In these times of crisis, independent journalism is more important than ever. That is what we at Mediahuis believe in unconditionally. Besides the fact that our journalists report extensively on the war, not only here but also under difficult circumstances on the ground, we have searched for ways in which we can make an impact and ensure that journalists in Ukraine can continue to fulfil their social mission and report independently on the situation on the ground.
Through the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), a non-profit investment fund based in New York and our partner in Pluralis, Mediahuis will provide financial support for the benefit of five independent Ukrainian news media that have continued to operate and report in these difficult circumstances. These news media are Liga, Melitopolske Vedomosti, Grivna, Molodoy Bukovinetz and the biggest Ukrainian newspaper Express. With this funding we will address their most urgent needs such as the purchase of newsprint, overcoming logistical delivery challenges in the war zone and even providing bulletproof vests. We continue to monitor the situation on the ground and, through the MDIF, keep in touch with the respective editors to see what other ways we can support them.
In addition, various Mediahuis organisations and titles are involved in initiatives that call on our society to contribute or provide support. Besides reporting on the situation on the ground, our news brands have the power to bring people to action. And our titles are putting this power to good use.
Various solidarity campaigns have been launched and our brands are working with aid organisations such as UNICEF and the Red Cross. We have placed free advertisements in newspapers and online platforms: from appeals for financial resources to the collection of much-needed relief goods and the massive expression of support for the Ukrainian people.
In Belgium, the radio stations Nostalgie and NRJ and the regional TV stations ATV, TVL, TV Oost and ROBtv are, with other Belgian stations, putting their weight behind the relief campaign of Consortium 12-12 for Ukraine, an non-profit organisation bringing together seven aid organisations that collect funds. This campaign will soon also be supported on the news sites of De Standaard, Het Nieuwsblad, Het Belang van Limburg and Gazet van Antwerpen. Last Friday, 4 March, at 8.45, Nostalgie and NRJ played the anti-war song Give Peace a Chance by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. In doing so, they joined a large European campaign. Stations all over Europe simultaneously played this song as an appeal for peace.
In the Netherlands, Mediahuis titles are placing free ads for the national Giro 555 aid campaign Samen in actie voor Oekraïne (Together in Action for Ukraine). Radio station Sublime participated in Radio555, a joint broadcast of many Dutch radio stations. Regional newspapers Dagblad van het Noorden, Friesch Dagblad, Leeuwarder Courant and De Limburger published a spread with the Ukrainian flag.
In cooperation with UNICEF, Irish Independent and Independent.ie set up a fundraising campaign for donations. In his column, editor-in-chief Cormac Bourke emphasised the need for help and the various ways in which Irish people can contribute. A poster with the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag also appeared in all Mediahuis Ireland newspapers.
In Luxembourg, Luxemburger Wort and Contacto, are working together with emergency aid organisations Caritas and the Red Cross on a campaign that will run in the coming days and weeks with an appeal for donations. Mediahuis Luxembourg is also in contact with the two organisations, which are joining forces to welcome refugees in Luxembourg.
Medienhaus Aachen is supporting a UNICEF action in which necessary goods (hygiene supplies, blankets, gas cookers, water) are delivered on the spot to people in need and to refugee shelters in neighbouring countries. On a special webpage, readers can make donations to the Aachener Zeitung’s UNICEF campaign for the children of Ukraine.
Also in the coming period, we will continue to provide support wherever possible.