France Médias Monde and CFI’s newly opened regional centre in Bucharest welcomes its first Ukrainian journalists
Faced with the state of emergency in Central and Eastern Europe brought about by the war in Ukraine and its consequences in terms of information, France Médias Monde, together with its subsidiary CFI, is leading a project that aims to strengthen its presence in the region so as to support Ukrainian journalists and help combat misinformation.
A regional centre, supported by RFI România’s editorial office in Bucharest, Romania, has been established to enable RFI to develop a digital news offering in Ukrainian and to strengthen the production of local digital content in Russian. The long-term ambition of this regional centre is to allow more than 30 journalists from Ukraine and its neighbouring countries to continue their work, which has been made almost impossible by the situation in the country. The project as a whole, which was announced in May, was presented along with its implementation schedule to the Board of Directors of France Médias Monde, chaired by Marie-Christine Saragosse, on Tuesday 12 July 2022.
France Médias Monde and CFI: a coordinated and reactive approach to support exiled Ukrainian journalists and provide accurate and balanced information on the war in Ukrainian and Russian
France Médias Monde has enrolled 17 Ukrainian journalists in recent weeks, the first of whom arrived in Bucharest on Monday 11 July to receive training from the head office teams on how to use the technical tools available to them. This training will continue until the end of August. The journalists were warmly welcomed to the centre by Cécile Mégie, CEO of RFI, the France Médias Monde project team and the RFI România team. Five of the recruited journalists will work in Russian, under the supervision of RFI’s Russian-language editorial office in Paris, to enhance local digital coverage. The other 12 journalists will start to develop a Ukrainian-language digital offering for RFI in September. All the journalists are supported by the technical infrastructure that has been put in place to facilitate the rapid implementation of the project and by the RFI România teams who are never far away and are always available to help them with any work completed on site and to ensure they feel welcome.
This regional centre also houses an area dedicated to welcoming exiled journalists, which is managed by CFI, the French media development agency. Having gained experience in supporting journalists in times of crisis in Syria, Libya and Yemen, the France Médias Monde subsidiary is mobilising its teams to open a centre in Bucharest to welcome, support and train Ukrainian journalists. This centre will remain in operation until the end of summer. Initially, this centre will welcome 20 journalists who will be able to make use of the safe space and benefit from grants, equipment, training and psychological support. The expertise of the journalists supported by CFI may also contribute to strengthening RFI’s newly-created editorial office and its capacity to produce content in Ukrainian.
The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs will co-finance this project up to a total of €1.5 million for one year.
In the last four months of the war in Ukraine, at least 15 media actors have lost their lives in the field (according to the Committee to Protect Journalists) and 11 others have sustained injuries under fire. The Russian attacks quickly targeted media infrastructure. In the occupied territories, Ukrainian journalists are under immense pressure, including from censorship, threats and abductions. This project in Bucharest affirms the commitment taken by France Médias Monde and CFI to the freedom of the press, freedom of expression and the protection of journalists.