UNIAN scandal reaps one positive benefit
According to Institute for Mass Information monitoring, February saw a marked increase in adherence to journalist standards by the UNIAN information agency.
The monitoring was carried out in the week that followed the scandal at the agency caused by the publication on 11 February of faked statements from opposition MPs Serhiy Vlasenko and Oleksandra Kuzhel.
UNIAN leapt to first place in monitoring, over the Internet publications Liga, Obozrevatel and Livy Bereh [LB.ua]. In January it had been in third place. Obozrevatel generally had the worst findings.
IMI spokesperson, Olha Burda
“In spite of the confrontation between the editorial staff and the agency’s management, the quality of news on UNIAN not only did not drop, but actually improved. It became more balanced, well-considered and unbiased.”
There was an overall improvement in February against January (from 5.06 to 5.46).
Following the appearance of the faked statements, six UNIAN editors issued a statement in which they said that they didn’t know who had commissioned the material, but believed that the management was concealing something from them. They referred then to problems over censorship and pressure back in 2012.
A statement was issued on 4 March by the management; staff and main owner of the UNIAN information agency informing that they had agreed on steps to resolve recent problems. It said that the members of staff were satisfied with the assurances they had received and the management had taken responsibility for the news which received considerable publicity in the media.