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The New York Times blamed for clash of interests due to articles (co-)signed by president Zelensky’s spokesperson

04.06.2019, 15:43
Photo credits: Presidential official website[/caption] “The New York Times” faces blames for clash of interests due to a number of articles signed or co-signed by Iuliia Mendel, journalist who was appointed yesterday spokesperson of the president Volodymyr Zelensky. The conflict of interests emerged, because Iuliia Mendel applied for job of the press officer of the president and afterwards she submitted articles dealing with Ukrainian politics among others to “The New York Times”. From May 1st to May 20th, “The New York Times” published three stories written by freelancer Iuliia Mendel or co-authored by her. The stories spoke of dissolution of the parliament, role of former US Vice President Joseph Biden in ousting of the Prosecutor General, sexual abuse in the army. CNN reported today, that “the announcement (Iuliia Mendel’s appointement – n/t) prompted a fresh wave of backlash against The Times for its May 1 story, with critics questioning whether Mendel had a conflict of interest when she reported for the newspaper. Mendel, who did not respond to a request for comment, also wrote another story published May 20 about Ukrainian politics for The Times. In a statement provided to CNN, Ari Isaacman Bevacqua, a spokesperson for The Times, said the newspaper learned last week that Mendel had applied on May 3 for the position as spokesperson for Ukraine's president. "Ms. Mendel wrote one story for The Times in May while she was a candidate for the government position, about the dissolution of Parliament," Bevacqua said. "Had she informed editors of her job application, they would not have given her that assignment and we would have stopped working with her immediately given this serious conflict of interest." Bevacqua added, however, that editors "are confident that despite the conflict that should have been disclosed," Mendel's reporting, including the controversial May 1 story, "was fair and accurate." Mendel authored another story published on May 19 for The Times about Ukraine fighting sexual abuse in the military, but Bevacqua told CNN that while it was published in May, the article had been "filed earlier," as CNN informed. IMI informed, on May 3rd, freelancer Iuliia Mendel was appointed press secretary of the president Volodymyr Zelensky, respective decree № 350/2019 was signed by the President on June 3.
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