We need all our courage to seek understanding. Speech by Ola Myrovych at the Opening Ceremony of the X LMF

LMF is the largest media conference in Central and Eastern Europe, and the second largest in all of Europe after the International Journalism Festival in Perugia. In 2024, the event takes place from May 16th to 18th. Traditionally, the LMF is opened with a speech by the head of the NGO "Lviv Media Forum." This year, it is Ola Myrovych.

“Last summer, these walls trembled from the shockwave of a Russian missile striking a nearby residential building. Now, 10 months later, we are left with vivid memories of the civilians lost that day and the plywood covering the holes where the glass facades haven't been restored yet. These walls embody the spirit of our times: the fragility of life, the resilience, the courage to tell the truth as it is, and the determination to act for the future.

Today, many of us face grave challenges to freedom and democracy in our countries — values that sustain lasting peace and development. We see journalists and human rights defenders being murdered and persecuted. We witness unprecedented manipulation of public opinion. Radical movements are growing, and totalitarian ideas are resurging, echoing the darkest episodes of human history. Democracies are dangerously polarizing and descending into internal discord just when the world needs solidarity and combined efforts the most.

<i>Photo by Nastya Telikova</i>
Photo by Nastya Telikova

We find ourselves on the brink of a new civilizational collapse. We need all our courage to seek understanding, even when the greatest temptation is to immerse ourselves in our own pain, and the greatest danger is the refusal to speak and listen.

At the same time, seeking understanding does not mean abandoning our moral foundations. Surrendering to evil is itself an act of evil. History teaches us no lesson to the contrary.

Seeking understanding means rejecting prejudice, keeping an open mind, relying on facts, and building trust. 

We serve understanding when we find the strength to acknowledge our flaws and accept the consequences of our mistakes. 

When we openly and with dignity oppose moral compromises, conformism, and inertia. 

When we view the confrontation of ideas as a process of searching for truth and taking full responsibility instead of avoiding it. 

When we call things by their true names and have the patience to explain the meanings we assign to each word.

When we invest time and effort into solutions that do not bring instant personal reward but form a value base for the community’s future.

<i>Photo by Nastya Telikova</i>
Photo by Nastya Telikova

Today, as hundreds of millions of citizens choose their representatives to parliaments and governments around the world, journalists face a great professional challenge. How can we present different perspectives without plunging societies into chaos? How can we integrate an understanding of the consequences of choices and the refusal to make them into the fabric of public consciousness? How can we promote the values of democracy, respect for human rights, and civic participation in an era of institutional entropy? Finding answers to these questions means discovering solutions strong enough to overcome polarization.

I want to conclude by recalling people whose choices embodied the biblical ideal: "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." Among them have been Ukrainian journalists, intellectuals, and artists.”