“Now has come the time of responsibility,” — Olga Myrovych

LMF is the second largest media conference in Europe, taking place this year on May 25-27. The event is held in a new format and brings together international and Ukrainian media professionals, public intellectuals, researchers, policymakers, representatives of the civil sector, and international organizations.

The focus topic is: “After or Before War. How Can Civilization Defeat Chaos?”

Read the full speech of Olga Myrovych, the head of the Lviv Media Forum NGO, from the opening ceremony of LMF 2023.

It’s been more than a year since the Russian full-scale invasion, and the fact that the holding an international Forum in Lviv is still possible signifies two things. First, that the countries of the democratic world have heard our call. They stood in solidarity with Ukrainians in our battle with the modern barbarism reemerged in neighboring Russia. The totalitarian ideology that has pervaded its society and political system has already received an officialy recognized term — “ruscism”. Second, it highlights the fact that the world largest group of the human rights defenders, the Ukrainian Armed Forces, stood up for democratic values and resisted. Almost 1 million men and women of all possible professions – journalists, marketers, IT specialists, teachers, writers, doctors, drivers, and builders – stood up and resisted. The blood they shed on the battlefield draws the thin red line separating barbarism from its triumph on the European continent, respect for human rights from injustice, and life from death. We are deeply grateful for their service. With those who are currently carrying out their duties in the military we stay in our thoughts and wish for their safe return from the war as soon as possible. We remember those whom we warmly welcomed, but they will never be able to join us again. Fifty-nine journalists were killed in this war unleashed by Russia. 

Seneca’s Moral Letters to Lucilius has been a powerful testament to freedom passed down to us, the successors of ancient civilization, by the esteemed Roman Stoic philosopher. Since then, for two millennia, freedom has stood as a beacon to the Western world. The Treaty on European Union defines freedom as a value forming the foundation of European unity. The spirit of freedom permeates the very fabric of the United States Constitution. And yet, in the post-war world, true freedom has struggled to find its rightful place in everyday political and social practices.

Few months ago, at a meeting with the representatives of a European organization dealing with the integration of Ukrainian refugees, I asked my foreign colleagues a question that arose from my countless efforts to explain the choices made by the Ukrainian society. “If values are what a person fears losing more than they fear dying, is your society willing to defend freedom at the cost of lives if it comes under threat?” The answer didn’t catch me off guard: “No, it isn’t.” — “Then what do you value instead?” — “We strive for prosperity. Prosperity is our religion.”

The civilization that gained its freedom back on the battlefield against evil during World War II let it slip away in the arms of comfort. However, prosperity is unable to defend itself. In a blackout, your MacBook might last less than a day, but it won’t have access to WiFi anyway. It is impossible to order pizza delivery while staying in a city under siege. The words “freedom” and “peace” hold different meanings for those who have fought and sacrificed for them compared to those who have inherited them. This helps explain the gaps in historical memory among politicians, intellectuals, and journalists who urge Ukrainians towards peace at any cost. The common truth is that peace is only possible as a triumph over evil, not a series of compromises with it. Otherwise, we would not live in peace but rest in it.

Now has come the time of responsibility. Not a collective responsibility, where we bear the burden of consequences from collective decisions, but a shared responsibility, where we explore our duty to actively shape group actions. Especially now, during the genocide upon Ukrainians committed by Russians, we totally reject any justifications for moral relativism and inertia because they are the choice of irresponsibility. Furthermore, we consider it a professional duty of the media and human rights community to restore justice by holding accountable those who have poisoned societies with disinformation and propaganda for years, preparing the basis for this crime. Sustainable peace can only be achieved by infusing it with true values and putting the full responsibility for it on our shoulders.

We believe that history will acknowledge our efforts. 

On the 24th of February, 2022, at 10 o’clock in the morning, our team gathered in the office to ensure that everyone comprehended their role within the new circumstances. As the meeting drew to a close, one of my colleagues mustered the courage to voice her concerns. “Tell me, will we still be working from the office?” she inquired. Without hesitation, I replied, “Yes, we will.” She paused for a moment and asked, “But what if a rocket strikes the bus I take to work?” I felt that I had to be honest with people who mattered to me, even in such a critical moment. After all, my colleagues were used to that. “If a rocket were to strike your bus, you’d most likely die,” I admitted. “I don’t want to risk my life,” she retorted. “In that case, it seems preferable for me to work from home.” Acknowledging her decision, I conveyed my understanding, yet felt compelled to underscore a vital point. “I want you to be fully aware that if a rocket were to hit your home, you’d most likely die, too.”

None of us can predict what tomorrow holds. I still assume, not all of us will be fortunate enough to witness Ukraine’s victory in this war. But don’t let uncertainty paralyze us – neither those who stay in Ukraine nor those in other countries who diligently monitor and lend unwavering support to our fight for the values we hold dear. May uncertainty encourage each and every person to act as if the freedom of millions and the future of civilization depend solely on us.


The IX LMF event is organized by the team of the NGO «Lviv Media Forum» in cooperation with «Choven» Publishing House and The Analytical Center for Communication Research «Networks». We would like to express our gratitude for the support of the event to: National Endowment for Democracy (NED), The Media Development Fund of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, USAID, Internews and «Media Program in Ukraine», International Renaissance Foundation, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, UNESCO and the People of Japan.

Program partners: Public Interest Journalism Lab, Foundation «Health Solutions for Open Society», The European Resilience Initiative Center.

Main information partner: Suspilne News. LMF 2023 information partners: The Ukrainians Media, Nakypilo Media Group, Prague Civil Society Centre, DW Akademie, Press Club Belarus, IMS (International Media Support), Global Forum for Media Development, Radio Liberty, PEN Ukraine, Euromaidan Press.

Cultural program organized with support from: Ukrainian Institute, Ukraїner.

Supported by the Lviv City Council. Logistics Partner: Bolt.

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