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16.12.2011

Gifts from the authorities to journalists are unacceptable

   

 

Representatives of Ukraine’s Journalist Ethics Commission and Reporters without Borders consider gifts from the authorities to be unacceptable and an infringement of journalist ethics. 

They were commenting on the events on 8 December when the Press Service of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Administration gave journalists an IPod Touch, two memory drives, a leather bag and selection of souvenirs each.

Volodymyr Mostovy, Head of the Journalist Ethics Commission

“This is an infringement of journalist ethics, especially considering our mentality that you have to somehow earn the presents, be beholden, etc.  Although nothing is directly stated about this in the Code of Journalist Ethics, this is one of the fundamental rules of journalist ethics. Journalists must not take gifts either from the State or from various business structures”.

Oksana Romanyuk, spokesperson for Reporters without Borders in Ukraine calls accepting such gifts shameful.  “I think that in Ukraine we need to begin fighting this. However that is a question for the journalist community. We need to work on self-regulation, identify such cases and fight them. This is a fight for journalist standards.  Unfortunately both Kyiv and regional journalists accept gifts from business and public figures on public holidays and regard that as normal practice”,

She points out that according to BBC standards, journalists must not accept gifts costing more than 50 USD, while the Washington Post prohibits any gifts whatsoever. “Not to mention going on a business trip at somebody’s expense. Like here when a press pool is formed with public money, or press tours are funded by the President’s Administration”.

She adds that the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Administration should revoke the source of financing of those presents.

Earlier the Head of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Administration’s Press Service stated that the gifts had not been bought using public funding, but provided by business representatives. He did not specify who exactly. 

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