UNIAN news agency staff signed open letter to owners
The address reads as follows:
Last development around UNIAN News Agency forced us to address to you with this open statement.
Two falsified information reports about activity of politicians Mr. Vlasenko and Mrs. Kuzhel, appeared on the web-site of the Agency has become a subject of heated disputes between politicians and media-experts. Unfortunately we have to note that discussions on Agency activity are going on in negative context. We strong believe that the appearance of two falsified information on web-site has become a disastrous strike on the Agency reputation. It’s obvious, that current situation demands urgent reaction from chief decision makers of the all-Ukrainian News Agency.
Appearance of two falsified stories on the Agency web-site has become a logical result and direct consequence of the activity of the appointed one year ago new Agency management.
Already in May 2012 we were neither trying to inform you that new management hadn’t nor will nor ability to cooperate with the staff team, which has been creating for years. Unfortunately our position hasn’t been heard at that time. We also haven’t received a proper reaction from managing partners on situation with attempts to reintroduce censorship on the Agency web-site last autumn.
Unlawful dismissal of ex-chief-editor, censorship scandal during electoral campaign, falsified stories on the Agency web-site – all this have been widely covered by other media and made drastic reputation damage. Unfortunately all attempts by Agency staff to normalize the cooperation with new management haven’t succeeded.
After censorship scandal during electoral campaign last October, Agency staff – 37 employees – has sent a letter to UNIAN Director General Mr. Osadchiy and to head of “1+1” group Mr. Tkachenko demanding to have a meeting with Agency staff and to inform it on Agency development conception. New Agency management promised to create such conception in the beginning of 2012. Agency staff also demanded information on results of internal investigation concerning facts of censorship in the Agency. This letter has been simply ignored.
Moreover, censorship issue in UNIAN News Agency has been a subject of discussion during meeting of intergovernmental working group under the President of Ukraine. Group has adopted a set of recommendations to UNIAN Director General Mr. Osadchiy. Among them the negotiations with Agency staff and creating an Editorial Board for avoiding attempts of reintroducing censorship in the future. There were no reactions for recommendations. Now we have a scandal with bears (in story about Mr. Vlasenko it has been stated that representatives of law enforcement bodies spied on him dressing like bears from cartoons), which could forever undermine credibility of our Agency.
Results of new management work marked inability of new team to effectively manage the process. As results we are seeing the following:
- transforming Agency from economically profitable to lossmaking one;
- decreasing ratings and credibility as a consequence of content level and professional standards drop;
- chaos in personnel and creative policy;
- resignation of high-experienced journalists (about 15 persons resigned for last 6 months);
- reputation damage linked also with publication of last falsified stories.
Keeping in mind these results and trying to protect reputation of UNIAN News Agency but also your reputation we urge you to recognize errors made by new Agency management and to take following steps:
- to dismiss management appointed at the beginning of 2012 which proved its inability to manage news agency;
- to introduce interim management under the Council of founders of UNIAN News Agency;
- to charge interim management to create a program of rehabilitation of UNIAN News Agency. Such program has to assume the regaining by the UNAIN News Agency positions that have been lost;
- to create an independent Editorial Board, which would prevent from the recurrence of violation of professional standards and ethics by any newly appointed management in future.
Honorable Mr. Kolomoyskiy, we are confident that you as a main stakeholder of “1+1” group and UNIAN News Agency for many last years are interested in having professional, effective and credible media.
Honorable Mr. Nalyvaiko, we are confident that you are not indifferent to the destiny of Agency where you have been Director General for more than 10 years and which has reached the highest ranks in that time.
Honorable Mr. Tkachenko, we are confident that you as a former journalist of Ukrainian branch of Reuters have to understand our pain and our will to protect our fair name and fair name of our Agency.
From Agency staff:
(together – 30 persons, list is not completed and still open for signature).
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