Zaporizhzhia journalists refuse to work with the RMA, say its communication tactics are a failure
Journalists from various Zaporizhzhia media outlets have refused to maintain dialogue with representatives of the Zaporizhzhia military administration due to its inefficiency and inability to keep the regional media sufficiently informed about the Russian attacks on Zaporizhia and the oblast, as well as their impact. As of now, 12 journalists have left the communication platform.
Several journalists told the IMI representative in Zaporizhzhia oblast about this.
The journalist see the regional authorities' communication strategy as deliberately intended to silence them and disregard the society's right to information, and consider such actions as helping collaborators and their propaganda media to spread fakes about the events in the oblast.
It will be recalled that in March, Zaporizhzhia journalists complained that the new head of the Zaporizhia Oblast State Administration and of the Regional Military Administration, Yuriy Malashko, who had been assigned this position on February 9, had never met with them and avoided giving any comments about events in the city to local mass media.
According to Ukrinform correspondent Olha Zvonaryova, many Zaporizhzhia journalists have actually been having trouble working due to the lack of operational and official reports about the Russian missile strikes on the part of the ZRMA representatives. She noted that the latter constantly say that they do not have the right to disclose information about the "hits" at their own discretion, without the consent of various authorities. At the same time, when journalists request a meeting with all these authorities and a special group chat for operational communication so that they may understand the situation better, the officials only say it will be done "in the near future."
"Whenever the ZRMA tells us that the special services do not allow filming yet and if someone goes there now, their accreditation will be revoked, some media outlets are already posting photos and videos from the site. That is, those same special services actually do allow it, but only to selected journalists? All mass media that have accreditation from the Ministry of Defense should work at the sites of the enemy's attacks and record their impact, and it should be happening not after all the services have already done their job, retrieved the bodies of all the dead and provided assistance to the survivors," the journalist said.
According to her, the journalists have shared their opinions with the ZRMA representatives. If the issue is not resolved, the media workers plan to seek a meeting with the head of the oblast, write to the President's Office, the General Staff, and other structures.
"Akcent" editor-in-chief Oleksandr Chubukin supports this stance: "I have decided to leave the group chat with the RMA, as it brings basically no benefit for journalistic work. In recent months, none of the requests filed by my colleagues have been satisfied by the ZRMA management. No meetings for coordinating the authorities' decisions regarding the work in the front-line area with journalists and for solving current issues have been organized. No group chat with the press offices of state bodies, which should facilitate the work of journalists in real time and the right and correct presentation of information about the events in the oblast, has been created."
"Moreover, there is an incomprehensible and, in my opinion, harmful practice of silencing, disregarding, or not informing the people of the region about the shelling and its impact on the part of the regional leadership. In the end, this leads to people looking up all the information about the impact of shelling attacks on Telegram channels and other social media and getting it from pro-Russian sources only. Namely, in the case of Zaporizhzhia, the traitor-collaborator Volodymyr Rogov is one of such sources. In this way, the government only helps the enemy to attract a larger audience and influence it with propaganda," says the editor.
061.ua journalist Elmira Shagabuddinova specified that in the last three months, no meeting with the press has been held in any format, and in recent weeks there have been absolutely no reports on the strikes, although some residential buildings were hit, but journalists were not informed about this in time.
"This information vacuum is dangerous for the public, as people are unable to assess the risks of what is happening and start looking for information elsewhere, in particular on the enemy-backed resources. I joined this decision because it is a kind of protest against the regional military administration for ignoring journalists and their professional work," she said.
Another journalist who has stopped communicating with the authorities, Margaryta Ogneva from the Zaporizhia Center of Investigations, believes that there is simply no one in the ZRMA who knows how to talk to the mass media and, accordingly, convey their message to the people properly.
"After each shelling, if we can not get even a tiny bit of information by whatever means, Zaporizhzhia journalists receive dozens of comments from the people: what happened last night? Are they being silent again? Why are they silent? They abandoned us, and so on. […] It seems that the ZRMA is doing nothing to remedy this situation. Journalists are being told that there will be some vague meeting with representatives of special services, at which... what? Okay, we don't even know what this meeting is supposed to be, but we're ready to go. But no, empty promises again. Thank you, we have had enough," the journalist remarked.
We remind you that the ZRMA representatives have promised to hold a press conference with the chair of the ZRMA on March 14, in response to the appeal filed by IMI in March. However, this meeting never took place. After that, the ZRMA representatives have been making promises to hold a meeting with all the services relevant to the issue and journalists. The last planned date of such a meeting was Wednesday, May 10. However, it was postponed again.
On May 12, the IMI representative contacted to the head of the ZRMA Culture and Information Policy Department, Vladyslav Morok, for his comment on the communication crisis. However, he has not yet responded to the request. IMI has learned from their own sources that another attempt at a meeting may take place next week.
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