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Only 22% of regional online media outlets display data on their owners – IMI research

Only 22% of regional online media outlets display data on their owners.

These are the results of monitoring by NGO “Institute of mass information”, which was conducted in 10 regions of Ukraine in September this year.* The transparency was evaluated based on the following criteria: presence in the information websites of contact information, names of chief editors, and information about the owners of web resources.

Based on IMI research,  the information about owners of online resources is the least available to the public. Only 22% of all regional online media that was a research that included data about owners. On the second place by lack of transparency is information about chief editor of mass media – it was found only in 36% of such media outlets.

The most transparent type of information was contact information: 64% of regional online media provided either complete data (legal/physical address of editorial office, contact telephone numbers, e-mail boxes, etc.), or partial (e-mail boxes and/or editorial office phone numbers). Most often, the information about the physical address of editorial office was absent, and the issue data provided telephone numbers of advertisement service, but not contacts of other departments.

According to the research, the average indicator of Ukrainian regional online media outlets transparency, based on all criteria, is only 40 %.

The largest percentage of transparency of online media outlets is registered in Poltava (58%), the least transparent online media outlets are in Zaporizhzhia and Mariupol (27% each).

“Transparency of online media outlets, even if it is not stipulated in the legislation (due to complete absence of legislative regulation for such media outlets in Ukraine), is important due to the need of their audience to understand who owns and manages the media outlet, and who establishes its editorial policies. Such transparency increases trust to online media outlets by the audience, especially that of middle class. Availability of contacts enables complaints about information that is erroneous or incomplete, and guarantees a right for receiving a response to a person who considers that certain publications violate their rights” – commented Roman Holovenko, IMI media lawyer.

*The research was conducted by NGO “Institute of mass information” within the framework of the project “Development of responsible online media outlets” with support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic in September of 2018.

As a part of the research, 100 regional online media outlets were reviewed: ten in each of 10 major cities of Ukraine (Vinnytsia, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Kropyvnytskyi, Lutsk, Mariupol, Odesa, Poltava, Uzhhorod, Kharkiv).

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