Ciné-ONU Vienna screening: “20 Days in Mariupol” 

To mark World Press Freedom Day Ciné ONU Vienna screened the movie “20 Days in Mariupol” in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Ukraine Support Office and the IOM Regional Office for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

VIENNA, 6 May 2024 - The Oscar winning documentary follows an Associated Press (AP) team of journalists trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol who struggle to continue their work documenting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The film draws on AP Journalist Mstyslav Chernov’s daily news dispatches and personal footage of his own country at war. Despite endangering their own lives, the journalists remain in the city for 20 days during the battle. Regardless of a lack of resources the team managed to send their material to their editors and made visible to the world what later become defining images of the war: dying children, mass graves, the bombing of a maternity hospital, and more.

After the screening a discussion on the importance of press freedom and the safety of journalists took place.


Commenting on the resilience of Ukrainian people, Teuta Grazhdani, Head of the IOM Ukraine Support Office, said: “I have never seen such a strong population.“ She talked about the work of IOM and how the organization tries to provide support to the most vulnerable: “The approach is that we remain. This has been the case from day number one in Ukraine, we don’t leave. We stay in the country and we deliver."

Frane Maroević, Executive Director of the International Press Institute (IPI), emphasized the importance of journalists’ work: “We need journalists to tell the stories.” According to him, journalism can help make sure that those responsible for crimes are prosecuted. He also mentioned that “journalism can provide an antidote to disinformation, but we need strong, resilient societies”. Teresa Ribeiro, Representative on Freedom of the Media at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) added: “The power of journalists is an immense power, because journalists are the ones mobilizing public opinion.”

Journalist Thomas Seifert, who is Editor-in-Chief of the “European Voices” Magazine, talked about the psychological impacts on journalists working in conflict areas who risk their lives and  and feel a burden on their shoulders. He raised an important point by saying that people tend to forget about how journalists work under harsh conditions their whole lives: “The war will end but for a lot of journalists there is the next war waiting for them or the next crisis or catastrophe to cover.”

Photo: 20 Days in Mariupol