The Tomos (religious decree on autonomy of Ukrainian orthodoxe church (UOC)) that was granted to Ukraine on the eve of orthodox Christmas became a great newsbreak closing the year 2018 at mass media and starting the news year 2019. IMI experts analyzed the newslines of popular Ukraine news web-sites in one day and they observed the excitement for creating of Ukrainian Orthodoxe Church was calming down, but the accents made by some mass media were significant.
High society news media
The newsline monitoring showed that in fact there was not so much of news or debates about Tomos and forming of Ukrainian orthodox church in Ukrainian news, as well as not so much of stories on religious issues. The mostly Tomos was spoken about in the news at Liga.net, (10, 71% out of the total number of news for one day), Strana.ua (10,24%) and Ukrayinska Pravda (8,89%). The less spoke on religious issues and UOC the newspaper Segodnya (2,22%), Novoe Vrema (2, 67%) and 24tv.ua (3,24%).
In particular, among different religious news the topic of Tomos is leading - 40% of news were about transferring of churches to UOC, reaction of Russia, statements of the president Poroshenko during his trips in Ukraine. The second position took the news about the fire in Kyiv Pechersk Laura of the Caves and its investigation. The third position took the briefing of Kyiv-Pechersk Laura officials (17,65% of news covered the statements made at this briefing). In addition they covered Epiphany, especially where it would be safe to immerge in Kyiv on the 19th of January (10,59%) and so on.
The great part of news on Tomos and UOC was related to some precise newsbreaks, like statements made by Poroshenko, Filaret, Putin, and there were some news about the number of parishes of Ukrainian orthodox church of Moscow patriarchate which from now on would be controlled by UOC.
The monitoring showed that news web-sites paid not much of attention to religion, and in particular, to forming of its own orthodox church. Therefore, several accents and lexicon related to same topic in various mass media outlets were significant enough, some of them try forming a reality, as it was necessarily to media owners. It is curious to notice that some web-sites created a heads which are aimed to cover UOC: Censor.net (“Creating of local church”), 24tv.ua (Orthodox church of Ukraine”), TSN.ua (“Orthodox church of Ukraine), Stranba (“Church).
Some of media outlets staked on getting more of clicks and yellow news: Obozrevatel, Znaj.ua, the less of manipulations were observed at Strana.ua and Znaj.ua.
As well, among other news, Liga.net published an interview of a researcher of the National Institute of strategic researches Serhiy Zdioruk who explained the necessity of creating of local church in Ukraine (“We destructed the Third Rome, Moscow won’t be an empire no more - Zdioruk”). TSN.ua put an interactive map in its stories on transfer of religious communities to UOC.
There were some stories which had characteristics of being sponsored, in particular stories on position of Batkivshchyna’s leader Yulia Tymoshenko (“Tymoshenko: gaining the patriarchate is to close the process of creating unified local church in Ukraine”, Obozrevatel), (“In order to end the process, the local church has to become a patriarchate, - Tymoshenko said”), Znaj.ua. These stories were deprived of all other point of view, did not have any background.
In conclusion, this monitoring held by IMI showed that among all web-sites chosen for this survey the overwhelming majority covered the religious news in a neutral and well-balanced way. The most of yellow news and breaches to journalistic standards were revealed at Obozrevatel, Znaj.ua, the most of manipulations were revealed at Strana.ua and Znaj.ua.
By Olena Churanova,
IMI media expert
*We monitored newslines of web-sites Sttrana.ua, Obozrevatel, Ukrayinska Pravda, Censor.net, Korrespondent, Liga.net, Znaj.ua, TSN.ua, 24tv.ua, Novoe vrema and Segodna for the 15th of January 2019.