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14.03.2008

Most “news” commissioned by the Tender Chamber in February

   

Despite cheering results in January, the initiative “We’re not for sale!” is not letting up on its scrutiny of television channels. As reported here, the monitoring is aimed at identifying news features on the main television channels which demonstrate infringements of the standards of topicality, significance and balanced presentation.

In February the Tender Chamber figured most frequently in material shown on main news programmes despite not being topical, significant or presented in a balanced fashion.

The assessment was made by independent experts: Natalya Ligachova, Chief Editor of “Telekritika”, Victoria Syumar from the Institute for Mass Information, Taras Shevchenko from the Media Law Institute and Vitaly Maximov from the publication “Dyelo” [“Business”] on the basis of monitoring of primetime news reports on 10 television channels.

Eleven such potentially commissioned news items were identified.  6 were in the interests of the Tender Chamber, with one each for: Energoatom and four other enterprises. 

Victoria Syumar stresses: “Despite the fact that the number of commissioned items is not so large, February clearly demonstrated that as soon as a client appears, virtually all the channels happily respond. This is despite the fact that journalists and editors know how complex the issue of state procurement is, leading channels ran items with absolutely one-sided coverage of the issue in favour of the Tender Chamber.

Vitaly Maximov adds : “What particularly hit us in the eye was the feature on Era about the advantages of going over to digital television according to the model lobbied by the National Council. There was no other point of view presented. According to our information, no money passed hands for this item and we therefore did not count it, however it also misleads viewers”

The experts stress that news items are not the only way in which television channels sell themselves. Natalya Ligachova explains: “For example, from our sources we know that on one of the channels on primetime news guests appear only for money. Contracts for many millions are concluded in order to influence the editorial policy of the channels as a whole, in order to buy the specific slant. There is manipulation of information in the interests of the owners which is what we have at present, in the first instance on Inter regarding the gas issue. I personally have a lot of questions to the presenter of “Podrobnostis” [“Details”] Ruslan Senichkin.”

The initiative “We’re not for sale!” began in early November 2007 with a statement issued by dozens of television presenters, editors and journalists pledging to boycott any news material prepared to order.

The Initiative carries out daily monitoring of the news broadcasts on the main nationwide channels

Based on information at www.telekritika.kiev.ua

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