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IMI director: An army officer running Ukrinform may face a conflict of interest

27.05.2024, 15:17
Oksana Romaniuk, photo by Suspilne
Oksana Romaniuk, photo by Suspilne

An army officer running the news agency Ukrinform may face a direct conflict of interest, said the Institute of Mass Information director Oksana Romaniuk commenting on the civilian director being replaced with a serviceman.

"We all have great respect for Ukraine's soldiers and are extremely grateful to our Armed Forces. But an army officer running a media outlet faces a direct conflict of interest, as their duty to the military command may not align with the media outlet's editorial policies. While the media may criticize the military command, an officer must adhere to the hierarchical structure and follow their orders, which makes any critical statements about the army's actions or leadership impossible," Romaniuk said.

According to her, strict hierarchy and discipline are essential to the army system, where disobeying orders may lead to serious repercussions, including disciplinary and criminal penalties.

"Thus, soldiers are not expected to be reporters, and their tasks and duties differ significantly from the media standards of objectivity and independence. The 'militarization' of Ukrinform, prescribed by the President's decree, may raise questions for our Western partners as well," the IMI director believes.

As IMI reported, on May 23, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree ordering that the director general of the Ukrainian National News Agency Ukrinform be an army serviceperson.

On May 24, 2024, Oleksiy Matsuka announced that he had resigned as the Ukrinform director general.

It was reported on May 23 that the spokesman of the UAF Eastern Group, Colonel Serhiy Cherevaty, has been appointed director general of the national news agency Ukrinform.

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