38% of online media show transparency in 2022 – IMI survey
According to the results of the annual online media transparency survey conducted by IMI, only 38% of Ukrainian media were mostly transparent in 2022. This is 12% less than in 2021. 52% of online media were partially transparent, and another 10% were mostly non-transparent.
These are the results of a survey of 50 online media outlets selected by experts based on IMI monitoring and SimilarWeb data. Popular websites were not included in the survey if they were aggregators that do not post their own news, websites of foreign media, or if access to them has been restricted by a presidential decree as a sanction.
Assessment methodology: this online media transparency survey is based on the analysis of three key parameters – contact details of the editorial office (address, email, phone numbers), details on the person responsible for the content (manager / editor-in-chief), and details about the media's owner (ultimate beneficiary) being listed on the website. Depending on their transparency, online media were given 1, 0.5, or 0 points for each of the criteria. Accordingly, the maximum total score for all categories is 3 points. Media with 2.5 or 3 points are mostly transparent, media with a score of 1.5–2 points are partially transparent, media with 0.5–1 points – mostly non-transparent.
Compared to last year, the number of mostly transparent media has dropped due to the fact that Media Group Ukraine, whose members mostly adhered to media ownership transparency, left the market. Another reason is that part of the media outlets which belonged to the mostly transparent category last year removed the postal addresses of their editorial offices and the names of editors-in-chief and other staff members responsible for content from their websites, and, accordingly, moved to the partially transparent category. Perhaps the reason for this was that the media teams feared for their safety due to Russia's large-scale offensive. At the same time, on average, online media have improved in informing their audience about their owners.
The following online media were mostly transparent in 2022: Suspilne, Ekonomichni Novyny, ICTV, Focus, Fakty, Apostrophe, Ukrainsky Novyny, Channel 24, Obozrevatel, Dzerkalo Tyzhnia, Slovo i Dilo, Liga, NV, RBC-Ukraine, Novynarnia, Interfax-Ukraine, novyny.live, LB.ua, and Radio Liberty.
Partially transparent online media: TSN, Rakurs, BBC (Ukrainian service), Bahnet, Podrobnosti, Antikor, Glavred, Pryamy, Khvylia, KP in Ukraine, Vesti, Glavkom, Vholos, Politeka, Korrespondent, Babel, Hromadske, UNIAN, Ukrinform, Espreso, Holos.UA, UNN, Zakhid.Net, Gordon, UNN, Delo, 5.ua, Telegraph, Bukvy, Censor.Net, and Ukrainska Pravda.
The following online media turned out to be mostly non-transparent: TSN, Gazeta.UA, Antikor, Znay, and Komentari.
INFORMATION ABOUT ONLINE MEDIA OWNERS (BENEFICIARIES)
According to IMI's monitoring data, in 2022, 26% of the surveyed online media listed their beneficiaries on their websites. We are talking about the names of specific persons. Last year, such publications were slightly fewer – 22%.
In 2022, the following online media showed complete openness by having the names of the persons who own them (usually through a certain legal entity) listed on their website: the websites of Channel 24, Espreso, Suspilne, Hromadske TV, ICTV, Priamy, and Channel 5, as well as Ohlyadach (Obozrevatel), Novynarnya, UNN, Novyny.Live, Bukvy, NA Ukrinform (13 out of 50 surveyed in total). In some cases, the listed beneficiary was not a natural person, but the state, as in the case of Suspilne, or a rather large group of members of an NGO – in the case of Hromadske TV. It should be noted that the names of the final beneficiaries must be published on the websites of TV and radio organizations – this is a legal requirement. Whereas for other websites, this is currently a matter of preference and a positive practice that is welcomed as a sign of the website's respect for its readers.
A lesser degree of transparency is denoted by listing the name of the legal entity that runs the website. In previous years, it was possible to find out the name of a website's ultimate beneficiary(ies) through the name of a legal entity, using the portal of the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, Public Enterprises and Public Associations. This year, due to the war, access to the State Register has been closed, but relevant information could be found in various private open databases on the Internet, which we did during the survey.
25 media outlets, or 50% of all surveyed media, disclosed the names of legal entities associated with their websites. Last year there were 44% of them. At the time of this year's monitoring, the names of the according legal entities were listed on the websites of the following media outlets: Ukrainska Pravda, NV, RBC-Ukraine, Liga, Focus, Korrespondent, UNIAN, UNN, Glavkom, Apostrophe, Zakhid.Net, Ukrainsky Novyny, Delo.UA, Radio Liberty, TSN, Politeka, LB.ua, Slovo i Dilo, Dzerkalo Tyzhnia, Komentari, Interfax-Ukraine, KP in Ukraine, the website of the "Fakty" newspaper, Ekonomichni Novyny (enovosty.com), the Ukrainian service of the BBC, Podrobytsi. That is, they are partially transparent in terms of who owns them. The following media outlets improved their indicators compared to last year by listing the name of the legal entity: Ukrainska Pravda, Korrespondent, Dzerkalo Tyzhnia, Komentari, and Interfax-Ukraine.
Another 24% of online media, this year's survey shows, disclosed no information about the people who own them in a way that is understandable to the reader. Last year there were much more of them – 34%.
If we compare the overall transparency indicators of individual media outlets this year and last year (we are talking about the total points for all indicators common to the 2021 and 2022 monitorings, namely listing contact details, names of the editor-in-chief and the media's beneficiary, the editorial policy, and financial transparency), we will see that nine media outlets (18%) have improved their transparency indicators: Bukvy, Interfax-Ukraine, Komentari, Telegraph, Zakhid.Net, Apostrophe, Glavkom, Korrespondent, and NV.
For reference. The sample for the 2022 monitoring included the following media outlets: TSN, Ukrainska Pravda, Novoe Vremya, Censor, RBC-Ukraine, Channel 24, Liga, Espreso, Gordon, Focus, Korrespondent, UNIAN, Obozrevatel, Glavkom, Gazeta.UA, Apostrophe, Suspilne, Zakhid.net, Ukrainsky Novyny, Ukrinform, Delo.UA, Radio Liberty, Telegraph, Novynarnia, Hromadske, UNN, Politeka, Livy Bereh, Slovo i Dilo, Znay, Dzerkalo Tyzhnia, Khvylia, Komentari, Interfax-Ukraine, KP in Ukraine, Novyny.Live, Vesti, Bukvy, Babel, the website of the Fakty newspaper, Bahnet, Ekonomichni Novyny, the Ukrainian service of the BBC, Antikor, ICTV, Podrobytsi, Racurs, Priamy, Holos.UA, and Channel 5.
The quality of the media content was not analyzed in this survey.
Read the results of other parts of our news website transparency survey for 2022 in our previous publications, namely regarding: editorial policy transparency, financial transparency, disclosing the names of editors-in-chief (or other managers) and contact details of the editorial team.
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