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Changes in the rules of journalists' work in the war: extension of accreditation and clear description of media work in the zones

Safety training for photojournalists from UAPF. October 2023, Kyiv. Photo by Olga Kovaleva


Another step towards constructive communication between the media and the army. The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valeriy Zaluzhnyi approved amendments to Order No. 73 on the rules for accreditation of journalists during martial law by Order No. 51 of February 3, 2024. For the first time, a detailed description of the zones was provided, which was previously absent.


According to the amendments published on the Ministry of Defense's website, accredited media representatives are now allowed to work unaccompanied in public places in the "yellow" zone. Also, paragraph 1.10, which referred to the immediate termination of a media representative's work at a military facility "in the event of a situation that may threaten his or her life and health...", was removed from Annex 1. From now on, the security component will not be a reason to ban filming.  


Red zone


According to the amendments, the work of certain accredited media representatives in the "red" zone may be allowed only if accompanied by the relevant officials as an exception. While working in the red zone, media representatives are obliged to submit the collected photo and video materials for inspection, as well as to coordinate their distribution and publication with the responsible official.


Yellow zone


The work of media in public places in the yellow zone, to which civilians have free access, is allowed without being accompanied by a public relations officer or other official designated by the commander within the route agreed by the commander (commander). Previously, journalists were only allowed to work in the yellow zone if they were accompanied. Such an application for accreditation is considered within three calendar days from the date of its submission.


Accreditation


In addition, changes have been made to the procedure for accrediting media representatives during martial law (Annex 3). From now on, accreditation is valid for up to 12 months. Previously, media representatives received a new press card with a validity period of up to six months.


Bloggers who register as online media entities in accordance with the Law "About Media" are now able to receive accreditation from the Armed Forces of Ukraine.


The list of information that may not be disclosed has also been expanded (attached as Annex 2): 


  • Actual names of military units (subdivisions) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, other components of the defense forces of Ukraine, personal data of military personnel performing combat (special) tasks, coordinates of their location and concentration.


  • Combat and numerical composition of military units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, available number, type of military (special) equipment and its technical composition.


  • Places (areas) of concentration, deployment and restoration of combat capability of military units of the AFU with reference to settlements (geographical objects).


  • Current and future plans (intentions) of the commands (commanders), combat (special) tasks and the progress of their implementation by military units of the AFU.


  • Information on losses of military (special) equipment (tanks, self-propelled artillery pieces, aircraft, helicopters, anti-aircraft missile systems, ships (boats, especially foreign-made) and personnel, if such information was not publicly available by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and/or other command and control bodies of the defense forces of Ukraine.

 

  • Movement (deployment) of combat (special) equipment, routes of their movement, types and number.


  • Photographic and video materials depicting mutual recognition marks, on-board numbers and state license plates on military (special) equipment, targeting, combat control and reconnaissance equipment, and design features on military (special) equipment.


  • Photo and video materials inside tanks, self-propelled artillery systems, anti-aircraft missile systems, armored combat vehicles and tactical aircraft, especially foreign-made ones.


The full list of prohibitions is available here.


Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, it has become even more difficult for documentary photographers covering the war, as personal risks and threats to life have increased significantly. Read about personal and digital safety in the article "What You Shoot Can't Be Deleted. How photojournalists work at the sites of Russian shelling and in the war zone"


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