Another debate is taking place in the country’s information space, and again it refers to UNIAN. In the Friday issue of the newspaper Dzerkalo tyzhnia (DT) under Viktor TREHUBOV’s article “Poison in blood” about publishing untruthful facts on the agency’s website, the editors of the periodical declared that they start to boycott the UNIAN news.
“Our website has been quite closely cooperating with the agency. Therefore we have decided to boycott UNIAN with an aim to protect our readers from getting untruthful information from the editorship of the weekly Dzerkalo tyzhnia. Ukraina and the website ZN.UA,” the website of the periodical reads. The boycott will last until the management publicly sorts out the reasons for publishing falsified information about Kuzhel and Vlasenko, removes the false news from the website, and publishes a refutation.
Ukrainska Pravda (UP) has joined the initiative of Dzerkalo tyzhnia, too. “Prompted by the head of the media holding Ihor Kolomoisky, the agency with a 20-year-long history has not only become the channel for distributing untruthful information, but it is also taking an active part in the information war on the side of the government, which is systemically implementing censorship in the country,” the Internet resource explained.
Unfortunately, the initiative, which is allegedly aimed at protecting the country’s information space, is far from unequivocal.
PLAYING INTO THE HANDS OF THE OPPONENTS?
Clearly, a refusal from using the news published by the agency which discredits itself is on the whole a natural reaction of a content consumer. However, one should be aware of the fact that such behavioral tactics is detrimental both to the owner of the medium which will lose in income, and the agency. UNIAN has for a long time maintained the level of a steadfast supplier of high-quality and veracious news – the authors of the declaration state the same. It is quite likely that for Ihor Kolomoisky the income from the agency is not a determining factor (let us recall the story with the Glavred-Media Holding). However, last week there were reports that publishing false news was above all aimed at destroying and discrediting the resource. If it is so, Dzerkalo tyzhnia and Ukrainska Pravda are playing into hands of those their opponents.
“Boycotting won’t resolve the major problem, which is creation of safety devices for preventing publications of untruthful information reports from being repeated in the future. Such a measure could have been efficient under market conditions, however, while the largest part of Ukrainian mass media remain unprofitable, their good name will depend above all on the staff rather than owners or editors. At the same time, if one imagines that the main purpose of publishing the untruthful news on the website UNIAN was namely to discredit the agency, the statements on boycotting it may be used for legalizing the decision on its shut-down,” UNIAN journalist Serhii VOROPAIEV writes in his blog on Ukrainska Pravda.
TO THE TOPIC OF JOURNALISTS’ SOLIDARITY
The stand of Ukrainska Pravda and Dzerkalo tyzhnia looks even less ambiguous concerning the part of UNIAN journalists who oppose the information policy of the agency’s managers, the so-called “locals,” whom the progressive society of journalists represented in particular by Oksana Romaniuk, Serhii Soboliev, and Viktoria Siumar et al. promised to support in all ways during the roundtable at the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, which took place in November last year and was dedicated to the first public conflict between the managers of the agency and the staff.
The fact that Ukrainska Pravda offered these “locals” to “publish their articles under their real names, as well as analytical materials on their personal FB pages for being further used in the media” looks like mockery. Serhii Voropaiev writes, “Our colleagues have offered us to distribute our texts, selling of which to other mass media is one of the sources of income of the information agency, via social networks.” However, apart from the commercial aspect, there is more. Judging by everything, the thing of utmost importance for the agency’s journalists who resist the management is to preserve the old and quoted UNIAN as an integral healthy organism, rather than promotion of their own texts.