Reporting from a War Zone: Ukraine
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Reporting from a War Zone: Ukraine
20th July 2022 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
It is often said that the first victim of war is the truth. But there are those who put their lives at risk to tell us the truth during war.
In this event we explore what it means to be a war correspondent. What are the risks journalists face and how do their day-to-day lives look like as they report from war fronts? How different is the reality they see to what most people end up seeing in the safety of their homes? What are the best practices of war correspondence and what are the dangerous ones? These are some of the questions we will be asking those who have witnessed the Ukrainian war first hand.
The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to gather the panel of expert war correspondents to talk about the issues of truth, disinformation and human bravery in the pursuit of the news.
Ron Haviv is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, award-winning photojournalist, and cofounder of the photo agency VII, dedicated to documenting conflict and raising human rights issues around the globe. He is also the co-founder of the non-profit VII Foundation, which concentrates on documentary projects and provides free visual journalism education.
His first photography book, Blood and Honey: A Balkan War Journal, was called “One of the best non-fiction books of the year,” by The Los Angeles Times and “A chilling but vastly important record of a people’s suffering,” by Newsweek. His other monographs are Afghanistan: The Road to Kabul, Haiti: 12 January 2010, and The Lost Rolls.
Haviv has produced an unflinching record of the injustices of war covering over twenty five
conflicts and his photography has had singular impact. His work in the Balkans, which spanned over a decade of conflict, was used as evidence to indict and convict war criminals at the international tribunal in The Hague. President George H.W Bush cited Haviv’s chilling photographs documenting paramilitary violence in Panama as one of the reasons for the 1989 American intervention. His work has been featured in numerous museums and galleries, including the Louvre, United Nations, Council on Foreign Relations, Fotografiska, and the International Center of Photography.
Haviv is the central character in six documentary films, including National Geographic Explorer’s Freelance in a World of Risk, in which he speaks about the dangers of combat photography, including his numerous detentions and close calls. He has provided expert analysis and commentary on ABC World News, BBC, CNN, NPR, MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, New York Times, Washington Post, Good Morning America, and The Charlie Rose Show.
He is currently co-directing two documentaries, Biography of a Photo and Picasso of Harlem.
Helena Ivanov is an Associate Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. She recently completed a PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research focuses on the relationship between propaganda and violence against civilians. In her thesis, Helena examined the role propaganda played during the Yugoslav Wars and produced a model for studying propaganda which details the key phases, functions, discourses, and techniques of propaganda (the model itself is applicable to other contexts). Additionally, Helena also served as a Manager at the Centre for International Studies at the LSE.
Prior to her PhD, Helena completed an MPhil in Political Theory at the University of Oxford, and holds a BA in Politics from the University of Belgrade.
Bohdan Nahaylo is a British-Ukrainian journalist and veteran Ukraine watcher based in Kyiv, Ukraine. He was formerly a senior United Nations official and policy adviser, and director of Radio Liberty’s Ukrainian Service. Since the end of 2021 he has been Chief Editor of Kyiv Post.
Dr Stepan Stepanenko received his BA (Hons) and MA by research from the University of York and went on to complete a PhD at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes of Paris Sciences et Lettres with a focus on Ukraine. In his academic career Stepan presented at a multitude of academic conferences and authored publications in peer reviewed journals, individually and in collaboration. He is also currently an Associate Member of the CNRS UMR 8167.
In British politics, Stepan has worked with the Conservative Party, running for election in the London Borough of Barnet in 2014 and co-founding the Conservative Friends of Ukraine in 2021. He continues to work on cross party humanitarian projects with a focus on Ukraine.
The Henry Jackson Society was pleased to hold a discussion on the impacts of propaganda and disinformation on Russia’s invasion and the role of war correspondents in the current conflict. Dr Stepan Stepanenko began the conversation by introducing the speakers. Dr Helena Ivanov highlighted the multiple roles of propaganda in wars, particularly in justifying mass violence against civilians. Ron Haviv discussed his experience as a photographer in Ukraine since February 2022. He emphasized the impacts of the war on the civilian population, presenting similarities with WWII. Bohdan Nahaylo explained the difficulties of reporting from a war zone regarding safety, technical issues and the necessary “engaged impartiality” in the reports. Finally, the speakers answered questions on the role of photographs in influencing the Russian audience, the utilization of a genocide and nuclear strike rhetoric in Russian propaganda, and the future of journalism under the current Russian regime.