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IMI representative: Mariupol propagandists censor their reports, not showing the destroyed city

21.11.2023, 17:38
Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

The propagandists working for the Russian TV channel "Mariupol 24" are censoring their videoreports, not showing the city destroyed by the Russians, reports the IMI representative in Donetsk oblast, Yulia Harkusha, who monitors the pro-Kremlin channel.

In yet another episode of the program "People's Opinion", the propagandists use their interviewees to imply that Ukraine's claims that Russians are not rebuilding the ruined Mariupol are fake.

The next five-minute "vox populi" section of the program begins with the following words: "Fakes from Ukraine continue to spread in social media. Every day, the citizens of our neighboring country talk about houses in Mariupol not being rebuilt, about people living in poverty and fear. What is the stupidest fake Mariupol people have seen? Do they trust false information? How can you fight fakes?"

The IMI's screenshot from the "Mariupol 24" report

At the same time, the IMI representative notes, Russian propagandists show the city in a way that does not reflect the reality.

"'Mariupol 24' propagandists create empty stories. They disregard the rules of editing and the general rules of creating a TV product, censoring not only the texts, but also the videos. For isntance, they do not use cityscapes with houses in editing, do not show cars or city transport. There are no shots of busy crowds hurrying along the central avenue, no perspective shots. And why? So that nothing that the viewer should not see gets into the frame. Such as the roofless partially ruined high-rise buildings with charred walls visible through the window openings. But they did repaint the facade facing the avenue!" remarks the IMI representative.

The IMI's screenshots from the "Mariupol 24" report

Harkusha also pointed out the age of the interviewees: those are mostly of pre-retirement age or pensioners, with no young people featured.

The IMI's screenshots from the "Mariupol 24" report

"On television, we always have a video folder called 'People': shots of people walking around the city, hanging out, drinking coffee, buying something from street vendors, children going for a walk, rovers riding about. There is none of that here. After the horrors of the blockade, the population of Mariupol dropped, some managed to leave, many of our compatriots died. And this is another topic that is almost a taboo for propagandists," said Yulia Harkusha, who was forced to leave Mariupol.

In her comment to the IMI, Tetyana Zhuk, the SMM editor of the "Skhidny Variant" website and the author of the "Antifake" column, remarked that the propagandists' goal is to create a good picture of the "beautiful new world" that came with the Russian occupation, and the survey's purpose was not to enhance the people's media literacy.

"The Russian Federation knows that Ukraine is putting a lot of effort into debunking myths and fakes produced by their propaganda. And they try to do the same thing in their work. But it just looks absurd. They try to fight their own fakes with a fake. Recently, a video of a woman complaining that the Russian efforts to rebuild Mariupol were slow and that the restored buildings were not the same went viral. That is, the woman there says: 'Have you seen what Mariupol used to be like? And what we have now?' I think that this so-called 'anti-fake survey' is an attempt to influence people inside Mariupol and, perhaps, people in Russia. To instill an impression that everything is fine, everything is being restored," says Tetyana Zhuk, who was born in Mariupol.

As the Ukrainian Mariupol website 0629 writes, the occupiers continue to make a picture for TV cameras instead of real repairs. According to the media outlet, only the facades are being restored, while the houses remain roofless. "One of such buildings is near the intersection of Budivelnikiv Avenue and Myru Avenue. The building is missing the interfloor barriers, parts of the roof are dismantled, but instead of doing such large-scale works, the occupiers are simply painting over the walls," the media outlet wrote in the news on October 12. Journalists rely on testimonies and photo evidence sent to them by the people who still live in Mariupol.

We remind you that in September 2022, the Russia-installed administration of Mariupol launched a new local TV channel "Mariupol 24", which is staffed by collaborators and Russian journalists.

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