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“Ukrainian-Russian war through the lens of a journalist: memories from Kharkiv” by Darja Stomatova
Thursday 16 February, 20:00 - 22:00
Darja Stomatová is a Czech journalist, working for CNN Prima News since 2020 as a foreign news reporter. She was born in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and at the age of 5 she moved to the Czech Republic together with her parents. She completed three university degrees, including journalism and social sciences at Charles University in Prague. One of her first successes behind the TV cameras was reporting on the violent suppression of demonstrations following the rigged presidential election in Belarus in 2020. Together with their colleague and cameraman Ján Schürger, they also covered other important events, such as the 2020 US presidential elections and the consequences of the devastating tornado in South Moravia (Cz) in 2021.
In February 2022, Darja and Ján went to Kharkiv to observe and share information about the current situation, that time only nonviolent tension between Russia and Ukraine. No one expected that such horrors that began a week later could actually happen. Darja stayed in Kharkiv for the first weeks of the war, where she witnessed cruelty and more tears than ever before. She proved enormous courage and showed immense human empathy when interviewing local people experiencing worse than a nightmare. Her TV news entries were taken over and broadcast by US CNN and other news outlets around the world. Darja and Ján were the last foreign journalists to stay in occupied Kharkiv. They were put at risk several times and all the horrific experience has significantly impacted their lives. In the Autumn of 2022, they published the book (Pod štítem Charkova/Under the Shield of Kharkiv) in which they tell all their memories and, through their eyes, illustrate the events they covered for the TV news broadcast.
At the lecture on February 16, Darja Stomatová will talk about her experiences from Ukraine, where she went as a CNN Prima News reporter to deliver news about the situation before the outbreak of war and during the first weeks of the conflict. She will share her stories from her journey to Ukraine and, above all, her testimony from occupied Kharkiv, where she stayed with her cameraman as the last foreign correspondent. In order to authentically capture the atmosphere of fear and uncertainty in which the local residents of the affected areas had to live, Darja will show some of her TV news entries for foreign broadcasts and photographs of the horror she witnessed. In addition, Darja will not only bring us closer to the war-torn environment but also tell us how she coped with the anxiety caused by the moving and heartbreaking scenes and how this experience impacted her in life.