Space for Freedom: "I believe that for one's country, one should live, not die" | DW AKADEMIE | DW | 02.05.2024
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Space for Freedom: "I believe that for one's country, one should live, not die"

A Russian journalist and participant of our Space for Freedom program speaks about her experience in exile.

"I believe that for one's country one should live, not die"

In recent years, journalists all over the world have increasingly faced threats from opponents of press freedom. As we approach World Press Freedom Day, we would like to share the stories of those who report them.

This story focuses on a Russian journalist (whose identity will not be revealed for her own safety), who used to work in one of the independent media outlets in Russia. After Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and the further crackdown on media freedom within Russia that followed it, she realized that she had to go into exile to be able to continue reporting the truth.

Autocratic governments presumed that expelling independent media would limit their influence within the nation before the advent of the Internet. However, in today's digitally connected world, the outreach of media in exile mostly persists within their home countries.

This journalist is one of the participants of DW Akademie’s “Space for Freedom” project. The project has created a community of journalists in exile and supports them to continue credible and independent reporting.

“The Space for Freedom project helped me to be sure again that, in the company of people like me, who cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening, I am doing the right thing by continuing to work in the media,” said the journalist. “I am not alone, there are many of us.”

The project provides emergency grants, training, regional scholarship programs, and appropriate measures to support journalists at risk from countries like Afghanistan, Russia, Belarus, and in Latin America.

With 2024 marking a major election year, the number of journalists facing threats is increasing. This puts democracy, as well as freedom of speech and expression, under threat. It is more important than ever to tell the stories of these journalists who continue to report independently, regardless of their location, personal sacrifices, or oppressive government systems. Together, they build an important counterbalance to those in power and that seek to narrow and damage the media landscape and the information sphere.

DW Akademie is conducting the Space for Freedom project as a network partner of the German government's Hannah Arendt Initiative. With the initiative, the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media support journalists, media workers and defenders of freedom of expression in crisis and conflict areas, as well as those living in exile. 

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