Eight Ukrainian journalists visited PLNU Friday to explain the difficulty of journalism in the midst of a territorial issue between Ukraine and Russia.
The group spent five days in Washington, D.C. at various media organizations, but were brought to San Diego by the San Diego Diplomacy Council in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine.
Maksym Savanevskyi, the Editor-in-Chief of a website in Ukraine, Watcher.com.ua, gave his perspective on the invasion.
“Ukraine and Russia do not have defined borders,” he said. “While they were signing a cease-fire agreement, there was a shooting and the house of my grandmother was under attack. Of course, the shooting was on the Russian side.”
The group attended journalism professor Stephen Goforth’s Intro to Journalism class Friday morning and later spoke with students in the Literature, Journalism and Modern Languages lounge with students and faculty.
Iryna Yarmolenko, a Ukrainian journalist for SKI TV’s segment, “20 Minutes,” told students in the first class that journalism can be a way to track progression of the war.
“You probably know about the issue going on with the war in the eastern part, so very often the people gather money to send to the soldiers in the front,” Yarmolenko said. “So we often conduct investigative journalism to see if the money gets used.”
Sergei Ivanov, a journalist and blogger from “Ukrainska Pravda,” an internet news site, said that in the American media market, Russia is on the right side and Ukraine is on the wrong side.
“In the discussion in the U.S. about sending military systems to Ukraine, the channel ‘Russia Today’ is doing everything they can to not provide assistance to Ukraine,” said Ivanov. “Russian mass media and information are trying to influence the market here in the U.S.”
One journalist, who has to remain anonymous for safety reasons, said that while the situation in the eastern part of Ukraine might be redeemable for Ukraine, that is not the case for Crimea.
“For Crimea, the hope is not there anymore,” said the journalist.
This Ukrainian journalist said fear often drives the work journalists do in Ukraine.
“We work under the conditions of what we feel is fear. We write about something important, something dangerous. We destroy it as soon as we write it because you don’t know who will get a hold of it…. You’re lucky you’re living in a free country with much more freedom. We fear for our lives.”
Katie Callahan contributed to this report.