Speculation about why the Ukraine War has been so closely followed around the world has been ongoing, often critical of the attention given Ukraine in comparison with other conflicts across the world. But one reason must reside in the incredible, breathtaking coverage on broadcast and news media, but also over new alternative media, including social media. The Russian invasion of Ukraine may well be the most well covered and reported war in history.
The number of networked individuals in Ukraine who have been able to record events on their own mobile and related internet and social media has created a huge source of intelligence. Those helping and supporting civilians leaving Ukraine have also been a major source of coverage. The open source intelligence community, such as Bellingcat’s Eliot Higgins, has been hard at work, documenting actions, including war crimes.
Eyewitness journalistic accounts have been amazing as well. While they seem to have ebbed and flowed with changes in the security situations, many of the journalists are right in the mix of the conflicts, even on some front lines and in cities under seige. It is incredibly sad but not surprising that a growing number of journalists have been killed in these conflicts. Over a half-dozen to-date with Wikipedia tracking the journalists killed in the Russo-Ukraine War.
On top of this coverage by journalists and networked individuals, there has been incredible use of alternative media by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Velensky, who has been called ‘Churchill with an iPhone’[i], and the Mayor of Kviv, and former championship boxer, Vitali Klitschko, has been effective in interviews for various news outlets.
We know more, and more immediately, about events and atrocities occurring in Ukraine. This has helped generate support for Ukraine’s resistance, but it has also been raising greater awareness of the tragedies of military conflict more generally, particularly around the killing of civilians and destruction of civilization across the country. This awareness will inevitably be disturbing to many, but also serve to help end the hostilities as well as pursue the war crimes that are being documented.
The journalists, networked individuals, and politicians who put their safety at risk to inform the world about these events are true heroes. They are doing a great service by ensuring that the world can know about who is doing what to whom and with damaging consequences. More than ever, aggression cannot be hidden from the world and easily forgotten, thanks to these individuals who are holding leaders and armies to account. From this war on, conflicts will be televised and all will be held more accountable for their actions.
After this post, the horrifying images of Bucha were available around the world. They cemented claims of war crimes that need to be pursued on the perpetrators and their command structure.