Media in Poltava and Chernivtsi oblasts adhere to transparency the best – IMI survey
Of all regions of Ukraine, the media in Poltava and Chernivtsi oblasts are the most transparent, and the media in Kherson and Sumy oblasts are the least transparent (which may be due to security considerations due to the Russian invasion of these regions).
These are the results of a broad survey on the transparency of Ukrainian media, conducted by the Institute of Mass Information in August 2022. A total of 69 leading regional online media outlets* were investigated (three most popular media outlets from each oblast, selected according to SimilarWeb data and IMI research). The survey researched all oblasts except the ARC and Sevastopol, Kyiv city, and Kyiv oblast).
The research methodology was as follows. Three most popular websites of each oblast were examined for the following:
- Postal address of the editorial office.
- General editorial e-mail addresses.
- E-mail addresses of the editor-in-chief or their deputies.
- E-mail addresses of the heads of editorial departments.
- Contact phone number of the editorial office.
- Links to the media outlet's social media.
- Feedback forms.
- Editorial policy.
- Information about the media outlet's owner (beneficiary).
The media received 1 point for each item listed on their website and 0 points for each item that was absent. In some cases, we gave 0.5 points, e.g., if the beneficiary was not mentioned, but the name of the legal entity (through which the final beneficiary can be established with the help of Google and legal entity databases) was listed, or if the editorial policy was described curtly in just a few sentences, or if the editorial address is hidden somewhere in the long website use rules.
Separately, we examined whether a website had Patreon details or information on other methods of supporting the media outlet financially (although no points were awarded for this).
The survey showed that the average transparency score of the studied regional websites is 3.96 out of 9. The average transparency scores by oblast are as follows:
Chernivtsi – 5.16; Cherkasy – 3.16; Khmelnytsky – 3.83; Kherson – 2.16 (the least transparent region, but it should be noted that it is currently under occupation); Kharkiv – 4.16; Ternopil – 3.5; Sumy – 2.66; Rivne – 4.66; Poltava – 5.5 (the most transparent); Odesa – 3.66; Mykolaiv – 4.16; Lviv – 4.5; Luhansk – 3.66; Kirovohrad – 3.66; Ivano-Frankivsk – 4.16; Chernihiv – 4.16; Zaporizhzhia – 3.66; Zakarpattia – 3.33; Zhytomyr – 4.5; Donetsk – 4.66; Dnipropetrovsk – 3.16; Volyn – 4.33; Vinnytsia – 4.66.
The survey showed that regional media were the most transparent about posting their contact details.
- 31 media outlets (45% of those surveyed) had postal address listed on their website.
- The general editorial e-mail address was listed by 65 media outlets out of 69. The e-mail address of the editor-in-chief were listed by eight (11.5% of all). However, ontly two online media out of 69 had the addresses of the heads of separate editorial departments.
- The contact phone number of the editorial office was provided on 61 out of 69 media websites. Only 14 media outlets, i.e. a little over 20%, provided a feedback form.
- 62 publications out of 69 listed a link to their page on at least one social media.
According to the survey, only 11 media outlets (16% of all) posted the full text of their editorial policy rules on their websites, and two more media outlets, i.e. 3%, posted the general outlines (typically, full texts occurred several times more often than cursory descriptions). However, almost 80% of the analyzed regional online media did not disclose their editorial policy or simply did not have one. It should be noted that a simple statement that the the media adheres to the Code of Ethics of a Ukrainian journalist is equated to having an editorial policy.
As for the media ownership transparency, only six online media outlets (8.7%; often these are the websites of TV or radio channels) specifically listed their owners on their websites, another 28 (40.5%) named the legal entity that is likely behind the website (and got 0.5 points for it).
Information on the possibility of supporting the media outlet financially was listed on 10 media websites out of 69.
When comparing the oblasts, the following specifics can be distinguished: in Ivano-Frankivsk and Kharkiv oblasts, all three media websites had postal addresses listed, in Odesa and Kherson oblasts – none of the three (perhaps out of safety considerations). In other oblasts, there was no such uniformity in terms of this indicator.
Lviv oblast was the most transparent about media owners, as all three surveyed websites had either the identity of the owner (two) or a legal entity (another one) associated with the media outlet (although the two of the three online media are websites of TV channels that are legally required to disclose their owner). In Chernivtsi, Volyn, and Mykolaiv oblasts, all the surveyed media listed the legal entity associated with the website, and in Sumy, Zaporizhzhia, and Odesa oblasts, no data regarding the owners was found on the websites.
For reference. The following websites were surveyed: Chas Chernihivsky, Gorod CN, CheLine (Chernihiv oblast); NA ACC, BookInfo, Molody Bukovynets (Chernivtsi oblast); Provse, Zmi.sk.ua, Vycherpno (Cherkasy oblast); Podillya.News, Ye, Vsim (Khmelnytsky oblast); Khersononline, Typovy Kherson, Most (Kherson oblast); Objektyv, Status Quo, KharkivToday (Kharkiv oblast); Terminovo, Halas, 0352.ua (Ternopil oblast); The Sumy Post, Vash Shans, Dankor online (Sumy oblast); Rivne media, Rivne Vechirne, Radio Trek (Rivne oblast); Zmist, Poltavska Khvylia, Poltavshchyna (Poltava oblast); USI, 048, Dumska (Odesa oblast); NikVesti, Novosti-N, Prestupnosti.NET (Mykolaiv oblast); PravdaTut Lviv, Tvoye Misto, NTA (Lviv oblast); Popasna.City, Realna Hazeta, Tribun (Luhansk oblast); CBN, Tochka Dostupu, Hrechka (Kirovohrad oblast); Vikna, Halka, Kurs (Prykarpattia); Accent, 061.ua, RIA Melitopol (Zaporizhzhia oblast); ProZakhid, Mukachevo, Holos Karpat (Zakarpattia); Zhurnal Zhytomyra, 20 Khvylyn, Zhytomyr.info (Zhytomyr oblast); NA Vchasno, Novosti Donbassa, 0629.com.ua (Donetsk oblast); Dniprovska Panorama, gorod.dp.ua, Nashe Misto (Dnipropetrovsk oblast); Rayon.in.ua, VolynPost, Volyn news (Volyn oblast); VITA, Vezha, and Vinnytsia. Info (Vinnytsia oblast).
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