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IMI and "Detector Media" appealed to Independent Media Council and Commission on Journalism Ethics as to violations of professional standards and journalistic ethics

14.05.2019, 12:47
(Photo credits: Gender critical action center-world press.com) The "Institute of Mass Information" (IMI) and “Detektor Media” NGOs appealed to the Commission on journalism ethics (CJE) and Independent media council (IMC) requiring to consider violations that mass media had made during election campaign. The both NGOs signed the common statement addressed to the IMC and the CJE. This statement was made on the ground of surveys held by IMI and “Detektor Media” during the presidential election campaign. In particular, the both institutions required the regulatory bodies to pay attention to following violations: 1. Breaches identified on TV channels Aiming to divulgate some compromising materials against Petro Poroshenko, "1+1" TV channel had recourse to “TSN” news edition, as well as to author program "Money" and "Ukrainian sensations". Some of black PR was made public by anchorman of the program “Money” Olexander Dubinsky in his video blog Dubinsky.pro and in his posts in social networks. Some stories – as, for instance, blames against the HQ of Poroshenko, saying the HQ tried to suspend airing of TV series "Servant of the people", were published in parallel in the news (in more soft tone) and in private forums involving Dubinsky (with more harsh wordings, often using abusive vocabulary). In the story dated of March 17th revealing the bribery network of voters which would be organized by Poroshenko’s HQ, Dubinsky is an expert who gives comments on to his colleagues newsmen. Oleksandr Dubinsky's personal position would not be impartial, what could be evidenced by his post on Facebook after publishing the results of the exit polls: "The day of deliverance. We made everything we could to hasten this day". The program " Ukrainian sensations. 50 shades of Poroshenko”, aired by "1+1"on March 22, had been made entirely with compromising stories on Poroshenko. In particular, a former Moldovan politician and businessman Renat Usaty blamed the head of state saying Poroshenko was mastermind of a number of contract murders, including this one of his brother. This is a fake news launched by some Russian mass media in the previous year. In the "1+1" investigations, as for instance, this one which revealed how one of Poroshenko’s enterprises would spend budget money for Russian goods through some the straw companies, they repeat the TV channel was asking the Head of state to give comments, but failed to receive an answer. They mention the appeal to the Presidential administration, although the story was on election, thus the HQ of Poroshenko had to give comments, not Presidential administration. Often, while covering the statements made by police about the disclosure of a network of paid-for electioneerers who would be engaged by HQ of Poroshenko, the TV channel was reticent or gave nor precise facts, neither background the similar allegations as to HQ of Tymoshenko’s HQ. During the period until March 31st, they did not invite any representatives of the incumbent president to attend the talk shows "The Right to Power" (authors of the program explained that only candidates for the presidency were invited to the studio, and Poroshenko did not receive personal invitations), and on February 28th, they did not let in Artur Herasymov, head of the faction “Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc”, whose participation, according to the candidate's staff, was scheduled on. So, all the guests of the program did nothing but criticized Poroshenko at least two months long, but Poroshenko’s right to reply was not exercised. The standpoint of Oleksander Tkachenko, head of “1+1” media holding, was also illustrative, at first, he claimed that for some political reasons he had deliberately aired the New Year greetings of Volodymyr Zelensky just some minutes before the New Year (as to Zelensky himself, he called it a "technical mistake" ), and then without any evidence he accused the HQ of the Poroshenko to send “temnyky”, then he qualified the venue of Poroshenko to the studio of talk show "The right to power" without invitation as "shameful", then he publicly supported Volodymyr Zelensky and, in fact, he was involved in the work of his team, although he denied it. The Pryamyy TV channel frankly supported the incumbent president Petro Poroshenko, and aired stories aiming to discredit his opponents, especially Yulia Tymoshenko and Volodymyr Zelensky. Such were the animated TV series “Fried”, that in a gross satirical style portrayed Ukrainian politicians, among whom frankly positive Poroshenko's character stood in a marked contrast positive. On March 10th, the Pryamyy channel aired “documentary film” "An old-new course for Ukraine" of the journalist Oleg Deyneka and news agency "Ukrainian News" that had compromising materials on Yulia Tymoshenko. As well, this news agency filmed another documentary “Green light for Kolomoysky” (already removed from YouTube) that was aired in January, which contained some damaging information and unbalanced criticism of Volodymyr Zelensky and Ihor Kolomoysky. After the first round of election, The Pryamyy TV channel took an active part in an informal campaign which was to accuse Zelensky of drug addiction. Also, the Pryamyy TV channel diffused an “audio record of phone call of Yulia Tymoshenko and Ihor Kolomoysky", which had been obtained illegally and the authenticity of which has not been confirmed. Moreover, nor Tymoshenko, neither Kolomoysky had opportunity to comment on this material. Among other manipulations of the Pryamyy TV channel was a fake news of the death of Tigruly's tiger, which once belonged to Yulia Tymoshenko at the zoo in Yalta. Much of black PR and unbalanced criticism Tymoshenko and Zelensky in author's programs and talk shows (since they did not invite the opponents of the incumbent president), in particular, "Echo of Ukraine" with Matvey Hanapolsky . At the same time, the TV channel was frequently pointing at several achievements and positive aspects of the personality of Petro Poroshenko. The Commission on journalism ethics publicly condemned the Pryamyy TV Channel for having manipulating with sociological polls, and during 4 days on February, the National Television and Radio broadcasting Council identified 48 stories which had violations of the election law. Also, Pryamyy TV channel was recognized as one of the leaders as to the number of manipulations, according to the survey of news TV channels held by “Detector Media”. During the election campaign, Inter TV channel has been repeatedly diffusing negative stories about Oleksander Vilkul, candidate for the presidency, and the party “Opposition block”, making them opposite to another candidate Yuriy Boyko and “Opposition platform - For life”. In these reports, they failed give the floor to neither Oleksander Vilkul, nor to his party and HQ’s representatives to react to these allegations and criticism. In addition, Oleksander Vilkul had not been mentioned in any other way, but a negative one. On March 4th, the channel showed some “residents of the Dnipro”, who required from Olexander Vilkul to withdraw his candidacy in favor of Boyko, “the only candidate from the opposition”, they said On March 7th “Inter” TV channel spoke of a “wave of appeals” to opposition g candidates requiring to support Yuriy Boyko, in particular, in Odessa. Since it was impossible for “Inter” to ignore the fact that Murayev and Vilkul united themselves and did not support Boyko, so “Inter” could not, the news was presented as the statement made by the “Opposition platform - For life”: “This is just a political trick of the authorities. They say that such a step of Murayev was an attempt to steal voices from Yuriy Boyko”. During the election campaign, ‘Inter” also manipulated with sociological polls, ignoring the results of research by recognized agencies (the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, the Rating Agency, the Democratic Initiatives Foundation and the Razumkov Center) and, instead, publishing research results of unknown or being under control sociological agencies which presented a higher rating of the candidate Yuriy Boyko. The “Detector Media” survey revealed such breaches weekly on February and March. Another type of manipulation is “regional ratings”, when they declared Yuriy Boyko being in top position of electoral support in Kharkiv, Odesa, Donetsk, or Luhansk region. On February 25th, the TV channel “Ukraina” aired in the news block a story titled "Without support” , saying that Yuriy Boyko was not co-chair of the “Opposition Platform - For Life”, that there were constant quarrels within this political force, and that the candidate rating was going down. The material contained a fake assertion (refuted at that moment) saying that without any explanation Yuriy Boyko deprived Vadim Rabynovych of the status of authorized representative due to some personal conflict. In fact, according to Rabynovych himself, the reason was the author's TV program on the channel “112”, which he hosted. On March 7th, the channel aired another story saying Yuriy Boyko “lost his popularity.” Also, the channel avoided publishing the results of sociological polls made by highly reputed companies, where Boyko's rating exceeded the rating of Vilkul. Instead, in the newsblocks of “Ukraina” political commentators or journalists themselves gave their evaluations, without referring to any source, claimed the rating of Vilkul was up and predicted that he would take part in the second round of election. 2. Breaches identified in web-based editions Politeka.net and Znaj.ua According to IMI, during the election campaign, these two web-based editions massively divulgated manipulative and fake news against the candidate for the presidency Petro Poroshenko. In particular, the following materials were identified by the experts: • The results of the first round of elections were rigged, Poroshenko personally was involved (“Poroshenko's attack on the CEC became the last drop, the Ukrainians are in rage:" it will end with the fact that ... “ ); • Poroshenko seems like Yanukovych and is already preparing his wealth to flee the country (“ Loading Kamazs with gold ... “: what happens in Poroshenko’s “Mezhigorie”: photos”, “Debate between Zelensky and Poroshenko : the president prepares himself to flee the country” “he was grossly mistaken "); • the results and the second round will also be influenced by Bankova street ("Presidential elections will be adjourned to autumn": a ruling was issued”; “Criminal boss will going to disrupt the second round of election by means of the right-wing radicals - the media "); • the life of another candidate, Volodymyr Zelensky, is under threat ( "To minus Zelensky: life of the candidate is threatened, a statement is made "), and so on. Also, these web-based editions went through the issue of tests the contenders had to undergo, saying that the tests of Petro Poroshenko were falsified (“The Eurolab founder explained why Poroshenko deceived all once more : “a fake urinaria vesica”, “Politeka.net”, “disguised it behind the backs and substituted the syringe “: Ukrainians analyzed Poroshenko's tests”, Znaj.ua). In addition, they gave their conclusions, quoting Mikheil Saakashvili. "But the ex-president named another disease Petro Poroshenko suffered from. Mikheil Saakashvili blamed the former ally for crookery and inefficient governing of the country. The politician stressed that medicine is powerless here so far: doctors have no tests to make such a diagnosis“ ( “Medicine is powerless so far: the true Poroshenko disease has been revealed after tests submitted”, Politeka.net). As to its analysis of Poroshenko’s activity, ”Znay.ua” web-based edition published blatant black PR : “ This is a black spot, Petro ": Dubinsky told how Zelensky boldly tricked Poroshenko“; “Poroshenko’s HQ denied “in an original way” being linked to “scandalous video depicting “murder of Zelensky” ; “Ukrainians point-blankly asked Poroshenko:" When will you go away, Profiteer? " ; “ So who of them is the clown ?”: Poroshenko's refusal to debate with Zelensky blew up the network “; " Only large-scale election frauds by the Poroshenko’s HQ could affect the result of election – political analyst”; “Poroshenko put a cap and called Zelensky on a rap-battle ":"Hy, mob", Ukrainians are stunned ." Meanwhile, these web-based editions were reporting in a exclusively positive manner about another presidential candidate, Volodymyr Zelensky. On the web-based edition “Znay.ua” the headlines about the candidate had always emotional and positive connotations: " Zelensky touchingly appealed to the troops: I won’t let you down "; " Zelensky was given a cue how to cut public utilities charges : millions of Ukrainians are to be happy”; “ Zelensky named two global issues: every Ukrainian does care about “; “The psychologist named Zelensky's main trump card for debate:" Poroshenko won’t say nothing to it” ; “Volodymyr Zelensky has shown the most precious and the most important: exclusive pictures”; “To eradicate it completely: Danylyuk named the main mission of Zelensky after the election”; “The team of Zelensky caused a furor: Palchevsky explained what are the benefits ." And in the material " Zelensky responded to the accusations with an impressive video of his training activity, " besides the positive image of the candidate Zelensky-athlete, the author , on the contrary, give reasons to convince its readers of alcohol dependence of Poroshenko. Strana.ua During this election campaign, the web-based edition “Strana.ua” was marked by a large number of manipulations, evaluative judgments in the news, and fake news as well. The web-site was actively promoting discourse on falsifications and illegitimacy of elections and blamed Petro Poroshenko for it ( “Gauss in help. How to identify frauds in favor of Poroshenko in elections, using mathematics” ,”Roundabaout, Russian dolls technics, #network”: How Poroshenko falsified election and got in the second round”,”Not to permit to vote against Poroshenko. They suspended to deliver absentee voter certificates for displaces persons in Kiev for the second round of election”,”A journalist demonstrated how Poroshenko’s persons would fraud election by means of health certificates. Picture”, “Ballot rigging points. In Galicia and Donbass they found out some anomalies while counting ballots in favor of Poroshenko ). The experts also drew attention to the fact that backgrounds were not corresponding to the news content and had some manipulating elements. For example, in the news about an elk struck by a truck near Chernigov “Strana.ua” put a background: “As “Strana.ua” reported, in Chernigov at the rally of Petro Poroshenko, the president's security tore off the journalist's poster" What about Svinarchuk?” (“On the highway near Chernigov an elk perished, becoming a victime in a triple accident ").Or, in the news, " Facebook has deleted almost 400 accounts from abroad speaking of Ukraine ", it sounds like this: "Previously," the background sounds like this: “Earlier, “Strana.ua” reported why the Ukrainian authorities have suddenly decided to pay off subsidies to Ukrainians in cash ahead of the elections ." The web-based edition actively published negative reports against one of the candidates, paying attention to some details which are not of public importance ("In Kiev, during a protest rally, a dog tore to pieces a pig that Poroshenko got from the nationalists ") . "Strana.ua" had no scruple to bandy about Poroshenko in the negative or particular contextual tone even in the news which did not cover him: “Blood tests of Zelensky is to be sent to the country where Poroshenko’s has his villa.” During the election campaign, the web-based edition failed to have well-balanced and impartial coverage of amendments to the law on the subordination of religious institutions. Everywhere in its news, “Strana.ua” qualified it as the “law on ecclesiastical take-over": "Poroshenko launched "church take-over " in Ukraine ", The Ukraine orthodox church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) slammed the law on ecclesiastical hostile seizure", " The Filaret thanked the Parliament for the law on" ecclesiastical take-over " and called on the Russian Orthodox Church to "look for another place on the Earth";"Tomos-round with Poroshenko drove to Zhytomyr "; " The MPs passed the law on ecclesiastical takeover. 229 MPs voted for”. " These judgments duplicate Russian discourse on Ukraine orthodox church, as these were Russian web-based editions which published, according to IMI, the messages about the “takeover of UOC”. “Strana.ua” also published the Russian narrative on sovereignty of Ukraine as a state and its dependence on the United States. For example, fake news and manipulative texts were made public: “Kurt Volker made a 180 degrees turn and suggested to Ukrainians to vote for Poroshenko ,"Poroshenko quitted mono-debate on Public broadcaster, as US secretary of state called him” . Usually, the backgrounds contained such narratives, as for example, in the article " President Petro Poroshenko approved the logo and slogan for the Special Operations Forces of Ukraine ", the author repeated in the background text that since now, even the berets of commandos would be of the same colors as in the United States: “In Ukraine, the blue berets were de-communized. Since now they will be burgundy, as in the United States .” NewsOne (web-site) During the election campaign, the web-site had an unbalanced coverage of candidates, in particular, it was frequently criticizing Volodymyr Zelensky. Mostly, these materials emphasized he was not independent person: “The owner of Zelensky, Kolomoysky stole hundreds of billions of hryvnias from the Ukrainians - an investigation”; “Zelensky pretends to get take-over laurels of Sasha Dentist - an expert ." Our experts revealed as well stories with signs of black PR, pointing at would-be drug addiction of one of the candidates: “Zelensky proposed another clinic to submit tests with purpose to disguise the use of drugs, as to a journalist .” According to IMI, 72% of such materials with attributes of paid-for stories which NewsOne published on its website, have been promoting a positive image of the political force "Opposition Platform - For Life" and its members: “ Medvedchuk: Unlike all others, our party actually proved that they could obtain reduction of gas price”; “Putin and Medvedchuk held talks on the liberation of Ukrainian sailors “; “ Boyko: earlier the parliament is to be dissolved, better it will be for Ukraine and its people”; “"Opposition platform - For life”: the reforms of this government are to be considered as threat to Ukraine “.
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