As Russia’s aggression against Ukraine intensifies, Discovery-owned news channel TVN24 in Poland is working around the clock to bring news and information to the nation that shares a border with Ukraine.
“While the world is watching Russia invade Ukraine, for us and for our viewers, it’s not only a story of an insane and inhuman invasion on a European country, it is the story of our neighbors and friends,” TVN24 deputy editor-in-chief Brygida Grysiak, who at present is in Poland, told Variety in an interview Saturday. “People we have known for years, we have worked with for years, here in Poland and Ukraine.”
Grysiak said TVN24 has broadcast live nonstop since Russia invaded Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv Wednesday, with on-the-ground teams stationed in Kyiv and Lviv in Ukraine, as well as Moscow in Russia.
“On the first day of the invasion, Wednesday night, although TVN24, our cable news station has regular coverage of 60% of households, we were the most-watched channel in Poland,” she said. “So people really need that information. It’s not only that they need that information, but they need to be together in that situation with the Ukrainians and the Ukrainian community here in Poland and with other Polish people, helping them.”
On Saturday, Grysiak said TVN24 began the “important” move of live-streaming Ukrainian media groups’ “United News” program “for free and for everyone” on OTT platform TVN Player. “I would say it is our little sign of solidarity for [Ukrainian] journalists, our solidarity with them.”
In addition to TVN24’s home team in Poland and on-location correspondents Wojciech Bojanowski in Kyiv and Konrad Borusiewicz in Lviv, Grysiak said it’s of the utmost importance to the cable news channel to work closely with their Ukrainian colleagues “above all” in coverage, particularly dispelling “disinformation” coming from Russia.
“They are very important for us. They report on what they see and experience there, apart from our people from TVN24… There is so much disinformation over the invasion,” Grysiak said. “We do a lot of fact-checking, it is crucial for war reporting. There is Russian disinformation, very much from their country. So in cooperation with our Ukrainian colleagues and journalists all over the world, fact-checking what they hear and see. We also do this. We have our special platform [TVN’s Konkret24], which is responsible for that. So that’s also a huge part of our job now.”
Grysiak says TVN24 has stationed “dozens” of TV crews near the Poland-Ukraine border to report on the flood of refugees entering the country.
“We are covering this extensively, giving tips to our viewers on how and where they can help,” Grysiak said. “We are launching a special web service where both Polish and Ukrainian people find all the information on how to help on one side and where to get help for the Ukrainians. We are also covering huge demonstration all over Poland. Even now, at the moment, there are plenty of them, even in small towns. People are just showing their support and solidarity with our Ukrainian friends. It is very touching how much unity and solidarity there is in the Polish nation.”
Per a representative for TVN24, “the website dedicated for Ukrainians fleeing from war and Poles on how to help them will be linked with our main terrestrial channel TVN, and will be available in Ukrainian.”
Amid the invasion, Grysiak says that the team in Poland feels “as though we and our Ukrainian friends are on the edge of de-Westernization.”
“Somehow, deep down, we still hope that the future may be both bright and beautiful. And we know that it is in our hands, also in our hands, meaning journalists,” she said. “That in-depth chance at agency, it is something really bright… I’m very proud we can report on it.”
(Pictured above: TVN24 reporter Wojciech Bojanowski, camera man Kamil Struzik and producer Marcin Piankowski in Kyiv, Ukraine)