Stop Censorship calls on politicians to stop concealed advertising
The journalist movement Stop Censorship has issued a statement in which it calls on representatives of all political forces to stop the practice of commissioning information about their activities which is not marked as political advertising.
They say that such practice has long been used, with material about politicians or their parties being presented in news broadcasts or socio-political programmes on TV, or supposedly “independent” publications in the printed press or Internet publications. They stress that this seriously distorts the information people receive.
They also insist that it was immaterial whether particular material presented with clear violations of journalist standards was for money or appeared as the result of pressure by politicians, officials or media owners on the editorial office.
Monitoring shows that the use of such “political dzhynsa” or political commissioning intensifies on the eve of election campaigns. There is a considerable percentage of material in the press which clearly infringes journalist standards of balance, objectivity, topicality and accuracy of information. The reason they say is in politicians’ wish to gain publicity stripped of any criticism in complimentary tones.
They assert that infringements are at present particularly noticeable in reporting about members of those now in power, as well as MPs Natalya Korolevska (recently expelled from BYUT after a scandal involving commissioned material – translator); Arseny Yatsenyuk (leader of the party Front for Change – translator) and former Secretary of the Kyiv City Council Oles Dovhy.
“We consider that the practice of “commissioned” material in the media is a form of censorship since what is in question is coercion of journalists into carrying out politicians’ commissioning instead of informing the public about their matters”. This is in accordance with the Information Act and is punishable in accordance with Ukrainian legislation.
They publically state their position that such commissioning should be rejected and promise to inform of all such cases from politicians or their parties which they learn of.