Civic monitoring finds authorities conceal information about municipal and State-owned media outlets
At a press conference held on 24 March, the head of the “Equal Opportunities” Committee Oleksandr Chekmyshev stated that 2008 would be a year of monitoring of “jeansa” [commissioned news items in the media], the authorities level of transparency, the coverage by the media of constitutional reform and areas of disagreement between different regions of the authorities.
Mr Chekmyshev also presented the results of their pilot survey of the authorities regarding subsidization of the State-owned and municipal media. These results indicated a virtually total lack of transparency at all levels of power. “Our experts sent requests for information about the subsidization of the State-owned and municipal media, their editorial policy, and work strategy, their cooperation with official press services attached to the authorities, There were either no answers, or just fob-offs.” He added that the testing had thus indicated the lack of willingness of the authorities at different levels to inform the public about how the taxpayers money was being spent on these media outlets.
The Committee will be monitoring commissioned news items on 12 national and network broadcasters throughout the year. Together with the association “Joint Realm” they will closely follow how the media reacts to natural and artificially created stories, with their attention also being given to the discussions between central bodies of power, for example the Cabinet of Ministers and the Presidents Secretariat.
The project is run with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy and the international Renaissance Foundation.