On February 24 this year the unthinkable happened when Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine and set alight one of the deadliest conflicts in Europe’s history since the Second World War. It has taken a terrible human toll on both sides and forced millions of Ukrainians to leave their homes.

The war in Ukraine is not just changing Europe but is also reframing how we think about modern warfare. At a time when social media is a main source of information for many, it is reshaping how journalists cover conflict. The war is not only being fought on the battlefield but also online and on social networks where propaganda and Russian-sponsored disinformation abound.

Not surprisingly, this year our annual conference centers on the conflict. The conference, ‘War in Ukraine: The New Frontlines,’ will bring to Sofia a number of renowned journalists to share their first-hand account on how the conflict is affecting journalism in Ukraine, Russia, and beyond. We will tackle some of the following questions:

What is the role of local reporters providing both life-saving information to their audience and telling the story of a country torn by war? How are Western media covering the conflict? What are the challenges to freelance journalists and war correspondents specializing in conflict reporting? How do newsrooms verify information and tackle conspiracy theories during a pending conflict? How is war-related disinformation shaping public opinion about the war? Did the war move the already blurry lines between journalism and activism? How is the conflict impacting independent media in Russia where journalists face up to five years in jail if they use the term “war”?

The conference, which includes talks and discussions, will take place on November 10 in Sofia.


Grand Hotel Millennium Sofia


10 November 2022


9:00-09:30 Registration

09:30-9:45 Opening remarks
Welcome by Martin Kothé, Regional Director for ESEE of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation
Welcome by Irina Nedeva, Chair of the Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria

09:45-10:15 How the War Transformed Hromadske: The Role of Local Media
Yevheniia Motorevska, editor-in-chief of Hromadske

10:15-10:30 Being a Ukrainian Journalist in Europe
Anna Akage, Ukrainian journalist based in France

10:30-11:00 Capturing the Human Story
Nathan Rott, NPR

11:00-11:15 Ukraine: The Life of a War Correspondent
Joanie de Rijke, an independent journalist

11:15-12:15 How is This War Different?
Anna Akage, Ukrainian journalist based in France
Joanie de Rijke, an independent journalist
Yevheniia Motorevska, editor-in-chief of Hromadske
Nathan Rott, NPR

12:15-13:00 Lunch Break

13:00-13:45 How the BBC Tackles Russian-Sponsored Disinformation
Maria Korenyuk, UK-based BBC journalist

13:45-14:45 The Other War: Disinformation
Maria Korenyuk, UK-based BBC journalist
Yevheniia Motorevska, editor-in-chief of Hromadske
Olya Lypynska, project manager at Mixer

14:45-15:00 Coffee Break

15:00-16:00 The War and Independent Russian Media
Andrei Zakharov, investigative journalist with the BBC Russian Service
Margarita Shurupova, Russian journalist
16:00-17:15 Covering the War: The Balkan Prospective
Georgi Kozhuharov, Sofia-based photojournalist and videographer
Dimiter Kenarov, freelance journalist
Goran Rizaov, Metamorphosis Foundation, North Macedonia

17:15-17:45 Collaboration in the Time of War
Olya Lypynska, project manager at Mixer


Maria Korenyuk

Maria Korenyuk is a UK-based BBC journalist currently working at the Disinformation Unit, focusing in particular on tackling Russian propaganda. Before joining the Unit, Maria worked as a BBC Ukrainian TV host in London, as well as correspondent for Euronews and Ukrainian broadcasters in Kyiv. Now she leads her BBC team in investigations into Russian war crimes and propaganda in occupied areas of Ukraine.

Anna Akage

Anna Akage is an Ukrainian freelance journalist based in France. She covers geopolitics, specifically post-USSR countries, Ukraine-Russia relations, and war photography. Her work has been published in The Atlantic Council, Ukraine World, Worldcrunch, LensCulture, doc! Photo magazine, and others.

Joanie de Rijke

Joanie de Rijke is an independent Dutch journalist based in Brussels with experience in print, radio, and television. She spends most of her time currently on the road, reporting on foreign affairs and social issues from multiple datelines spanning several continents. She specializes in conflict and war zone reporting and has extensively covered various conflicts in the Middle East. She is the author of three books: ‘In the Hands of the Taliban’ (2009), ‘Pakistan, the Most Dangerous Country in the World’ (2012), and ‘Bombs in Brussels, Five Years After the Attacks – 22 March 2016’ (2021).

Olya Lypynska

Olya Lypynska is a project manager and former journalist from Lviv, Ukraine. She works in Mixer, a new media organization focused on strengthening the media industry in Central and Eastern Europe. In the past six years, Olya has been one of the organizers of Lviv Media Forum, an international media conference in Ukraine. Olya is also a member of the communication team that promotes Unbroken Ukraine, a Lviv-based humanitarian hub, helping people fleeing the war.

Yevheniia Motorevska

Yevheniia Motorevska is a Ukrainian journalist, editor, and video producer. In 2021, she was appointed editor-in-chief of Hromadske, one of the leading independent media outlets in the country. Yevheniia started her journalism career in 2008, and since then her work investigating corruption and abuses of power has been recognized with multiple awards. Before heading Hromadske, she was a member of the Ukrainian platform Slidstvo.Info, which investigates graft and organized crime.

Dimiter Kenarov

Dimiter Kenarov is a freelance journalist, poet, literary critic, translator – a writer, really. His English-language writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Outside, The Nation, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, The International New York Times, and The Virginia Quarterly Review, among many others. His work has also been anthologized three times in The Best American Travel Writing (2009; 2012; 2013) and has been twice labeled “notable” in The Best American Non-Required Reading.

Andrei Zakharov

Andrei Zakharov is an investigative journalist working with the BBC Russian Service. Previously he worked at Fontanka.ru in St. Petersburg as a news reporter and economy section editor before joining RosBusinessConsulting (RBC) Magazine as an investigative reporter in 2016. In 2020 he was selected as a Paul Klebnikov Russian Civil Society Fellow 2020-2021 by the Harriman Institute, Columbia University. Over the years he has exposed abuse of power and corruption in Russia, as well as investigating Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, and has received a number of awards for his reporting. As a result, in 2021 Andrei was designated as a “foreign agent” in Russia and forced to leave the country.

Margarita Shurupova

Margarita Shurupova is a Russian journalist. Until the outbreak of the war she was based in Tomsk, Russia, where she worked as a television reporter and presenter, as well as an editor and broadcast manager at a local television station. In March she left the country and is currently residing in Bulgaria. She is one of the founders and editors of the reporting project Witnesses of February 24, which documents the stories of Ukrainians and Russians fleeing the war.

Georgi Kozhuharov

Georgi Kozhuharov is a Sofia-based photojournalist and videographer. He started his career in photography when he was 17 years old. In 2005 he joined the team of the news site Dnevnik.bg, covering breaking news, current events, and social issues, with special interest in documentary photography and conflict reporting. His work has received multiple awards.

Nathan Rott

Nathan Rott is a correspondent on NPR’s National Desk, where he focuses on environment issues and the American West. Based in California, Rott spends a lot of his time on the road, covering everything from breaking news stories like California’s wildfires to in-depth issues like the management of endangered species and many points between. He spent a total of four months in Ukraine, covering the conflict since its start in February.

Goran Rezaov

Goran Rezaov is a project coordinator at the Metamorphosis Foundation and a journalist based in Skopje with experience in print and electronic media. He works mainly on projects mainly related to good governance projects, open data, and data visualizations. In 2011/2012 Goran spent one academic year studying data journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix, Arizona, on an exchange program.



Grand Hotel Millennium Sofia