What Newscasts Left Unsaid in July 2015

1. Materials with professional standards violations that may signify their sponsored (censored) nature.

During the reporting week the TV-channels under consideration had summary pieces of daily newscasts with social and political materials violating the professional standards that may indicate sponsorship (censorship):

Table 1. Total number of materials with professional standards violations that may indicate sponsorship (censorship):

(on the right - July 2014, September 2014, October 2014, January 2015, April 2015, JULY 2015: TV channels - INTER, UKRAINE, ICTV, 1+1, UA: Pershyi, Channel 5, STB)

 During the reporting week in July, if compared to the data in April, the channels INTER, ICTV, 1+1 and UA: Pershyi saw the notable increase in the materials with signs of sponsorship. The number of similar materials on the rest of channels has not changed.

 The ‘protocol’ pieces about communications or deeds of high-ranking officials constituted a large part of materials with signs of sponsorship on the majority of channels. These pieces give only the positions of high-ranking officials and ignore the opinions of their political opponents and representatives of social groups affected by the matter under discussion. Such materials do not have any expert opinions and backgrounds. They often violate the standard of authenticity of information not giving the information sources or stating them in inaccurate or generalized manner. For example, most channels covered in this manner the President’s statements about the Mukacheve events at the meeting of Military Committee of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council on 13 July, the Poroshenko’s ‘reconciliation’ of Shokin and Sakvarlidze on 14 July, the appointment of Moskal on 15 July, the Parliament’s listening to the Poroshenko’s speech and voting for submission of constitutional changes to the Constitutional Court on 16 July. The day of 17 July saw a lot of such materials with the President on different channels: Poroshenko at the MH1 anniversary memorial ceremony and Poroshenko creates the plane crash working group, Poroshenko at ArcelorMittal, Poroshenko about possibility of RF military incursion, about smuggling in near-front areas, about adoption of the decentralization law. On 13-15 July most channels were covering the international trip of PM Yatseniuk, and on 17 July it was his trip report in the Verkhovna Rada. The same way some channels followed the moves of Vitalii Klychko: Kyiv mayor fired the deputy director of City Development Dept., the mayor ‘inspected’ city streets etc. Due to such materials on UA: Pershyi the index has grown considerably as one can see in table 1.

The Mukacheve developments have become the key theme of the first half of the reporting week. The channels covered it in the reportage way mostly, they did not try to investigate the actual circumstances. For example, INTER, violating the standard of separation of facts from opinions (conclusions and evaluations of journalists, unsubstantiated assumptions and versions), has built two lines: a negative one against the authorities and MIA, in particular, and the second one also negative against the Right Sector.

See the quotes from INTER’s materials of 13 July:

“Militia representative told that Right Sector’s group that sheltered in the mountain is surrounded. Today we have seen a convoy of armoured vehicles heading to the place where the outlaws might be. Though it looks more like showing-off. Plus it is alleged that the suspects have been seen in the village of Bobovische today.”

“However, the story of going to a shop makes suggest that…”

“Even the governor on the air of one of the channels admitted in a queer way that the smuggling thrives in the oblast… this governor’s Freudian slip was noticed by everybody.”

“Some run the protection racket, others support outrage, there are also those who just do nothing.”

“By the way, the Saturday video from Mukachevo raises many questions; the MIA published it to prove that Right Sector fighters were first to open fire. It seems that the video was shot from two spots by two different cameras. Look at the video quality. It is rather high and is definitely not from the surveillance cameras. Moreover, not the whole file but its fragments are posted on the Internet. But the actual moment of murder was not shot. One may only guess where the bullet came from. It is unclear whom the Right Sector was shooting. The camera is always towards them. The sound fades from time to time. Why? Maybe the editor has cut out the discreditable sections? It is uncommon that the militia came so fast. The cars of Right Sector were blocked at once. And there are many of such strange details actually. It is hard to escape a conclusion if this video is not accidental then the whole operation has been prepared in advance.“

It is symptomatic that in this subject (though, in some other as well) INTER gives floor for critical comments about the authorities (not balanced with the viewpoints of the authority representatives) to the same range of politicians, in particular, to the representatives of Opposition Block (to Yurii Boiko largerly), to Igor Yeremeyev, leader of Volia Narodu (People’s Will) group, ‘radical’ Oleh Liashko and Yuliia Tymoshenko,  leader of Batkivshchyna (Motherland) (the latter two persons, though formally being members of ruling coalition, always show the populist and critical position against the authorities. For some reason, INTER gives floor to the people’s deputy Sergii Kaplin who urges Avakov to resign (and, of course, return comment is not presented).)

13 July, only STB among all the channels gives the whole sync of Right Sector representative who mentions a large group of armed ‘titushky’ (thugs for hire) that waited Right Sector fighters at the Lanio’s base. The RS’s statement that the information that the RS fighters took a boy hostage is ‘a dirty information technology’ was fully cited by 1+1 only, partially by ICTV, other channels mention briefly the ‘refutation’ at the most.

14 July, not all channels mention the RS’s statement that two of their fighters in Zakarpattia surrendered voluntarily to the law-enforcement officers. Neither the channels mention Mykola Yovbak, a civilian who with his own arms ‘helped militia’ during the fire-fight. But INTER keeps giving its own versions and evaluations of the events: “Mukachevo nod. It interlaced several interests at once. And several players started drowning each other.” The same about UKRAINE: “What or who has become a reason of Mukacheve shooting? The militia has several versions. But the names of people’s deputies Mykhailo Lanio and Viktor Baloga, former comrades and business partners, are mentioned the most often. They shift the blame on each other.” And the same range of speakers (Boiko, Tymoshenko, Liashko).

15 July, all channels about the ‘rebooting of authorities’ in Zakarpattia, citing Poroshenko mainly. And INTER keeps making its own naked versions and evaluations of different events in Zakarpattia: “Remember the conflict exposed three parties. One of them is the militia officers whose presence on site raised many questions among the society. And the answers were rather vague both by the oblast-level administration and the MIA. The Uzhgorod militia officers took responsibility for an armed man in jog pants who had not been identified at first… He is a rather known character in Mukachevo. Though among the criminals… Despite all these episodes the militia has nothing bad to tell about Yovbak.” “If the whole story did not have one killed and several persons injured, one could have laughed.” “According to our sources, Yovbak may soon leave Ukraine for Romania. It is commonly known the border line is open for chosen runaways.” “The Saturday’s massacre revealed horrible stigmas in the region. And new facts that get revealed every day exacerbate the diagnosis.”

17 July, INTER tells that “Avakov ventured to go to Zakarpattia… And the Minister of Interior is going to Zakarpattia only tomorrow. A week after! At least, Arsen Avakov told that in Lviv today. Moreover, he does not know how many bandits – these are his exact words – run about the forests. Nevertheless, he said that they have a kind of dialogue with them.

As about other subjects, 14 July almost all channels report, in rather one-sided, concerted way with no preliminary statements by Sakvarelidze and Kasko, about Poroshenko ‘bringing together’ of Zakvarelidze and Shoking on camera.

16 July, most channels had unbalanced coverage of the Parliamentary session for the Constitution modifications based mainly on the position and arguments voiced by Poroshenko in the Parliament. Some channels give journalist’s evaluations: “Finally, the PM and President draw a line under the discussion… 288 votes is a symptomatic result” (1+1). “Though the opposition voted for the Constitution changes, it criticizes many clauses of the draft law” (INTER). “Today Rada has made a big step for decentralization. It was stormy and emotional – with reading of poems and oath. At last the people’s deputies managed to introduce the draft of constitution modifications to the agenda. It is sent to the Constitutional Court for evaluation. This historical event took place on the 25th anniversary of National Sovereignity Declaration approval” (ICTV). “The people’s representatives considered and made first step towards the Constitutional refor” (UKRAINE). INTER adds Nataliia Korolevska to their standard range of commenters.

As about other topics. During the week, 1+1 was producing positive materials about the UKROP party, recently created by Kolomoiskyi’s men, and gave one-sided coverage (supporting the candidate Gennadiy Korban) of the pre-election developments in Chernigiv. 14 July, INTER, ICTV, UKRAINE gave complimentary materials that Viktor Pinchuk received the American fund award. 15 July, INTER and UKRAINE give one-sided coverage and evaluation of Korolevska’s accusations against the authorities that “orphanages are left without any support from the State after the reforms”. 16 July, ICTV and UKRAINE present Borys Kolesnikov’s accusations against the authorities in an unbalanced and judgmental way.

And during the week INTER had many different materials with signs of sponsorship. 14 July, about the round table organized by Firtash’s structure (Agency of Modernization of Ukraine), a story about “the militia covers the Poltava mayor who has knocked down people” based on the accusations of the representatives of Kaplin’s Party of Ordinary People. 15 July, a story about a billboard against the minister of infrastructure Pyvovarskyi (according to the version of INTER’s journalists) [translator’s note: there is an equivoque. The meaning of Ukrainian word ‘Pyvovarskyi’ is close to ‘beer factory’] (quote: “A huge billboard saying: “Beer+Baylis. Does papa know?” was hung on a multi-storey apartment block in front of the Ministry of Infrastructure. Its meaning is rather blatant. The ministry’s officials familiar with the behind the scenes explain what is implied. They say that “Beer” is the minister of infrastructure Pyvovarskyi, and Baylis is the advisor to the head of Administration of President Mykhailo Beilin, it is alleged that all key appointments in the MinInfra are given at the suggestion of the latter. The advertiser’s hint is clear for the ministry’s officials: if Poroshenko finds out about the tricks of the ‘couple’, they are sure to get into trouble.”). 16 July, a material that Viktor Shokin “is 1.5 times more efficient” than Makhnitskyi and Yarema. The same day they also give a one-sided story without proper background that the EU added Andrii Portnov to the ‘black list’ who was “persecuted on political grounds”. 17 July, a large material with unfounded accusations of customs officers of smuggling ‘protection’ on the Crimea road. The same day, a one-sided story that a former member of the Party of Regions Mykhailo Papiyev accused People’s Front of ‘corruption protection’. And a material that a former member of the Party of Regions Mykola Skoryk accused Saakashvili of diversion of public funds.

 Table 2. Materials about business with signs of sponsorship

(on the right - July 2014, September 2014, October 2014, January 2015, April 2015, JULY 2015: TV channels - INTER, UKRAINE, ICTV, 1+1, UA: Pershyi, Channel 5, STB)

The reporting week has seen the most materials with PR signs on the channel UKRAINE (three, and we do not take into account the numerous materials about the work of Humanitarian Center of Rinat Akhmetov Foundation because they are included in the sponsored materials of political nature and in the table 1). 13 July, the channel broadcast the material supporting indirectly the interests of the DTEK concern that “for the two months of court session, the Prosecutor General’s Office has not yet presented any evidence of State interest violation as a result of Dniproenergo privatization to the Kyiv court”. 15 July, UKRAINE showed one-sided accusation of 1+1 channel of broadcasting Russian TV-series without proper distribution certificates. The administration of 1+1 was not given any opportunity to respond. 17 July, UKRAINE presented a story that the President Poroshenko took part in the launch of blast-furnace at ArcelorMittal plant. The same material was also showed by UA: PERSHYI on the same date. These materials were not balanced, did not have backgrounds, with positive position about the plant. In addition to the PR nature of such materials, they have all violations of standards that may signal the sponsorship (so they are included in table 1).

15 and 16 July, INTER showed unbalanced materials with violations of other standards alleging that the militia beat the security of petroleum storage depot of BRSM-Nafta in Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyi, and the fuel and property were plundered (“A guardian beaten by the militia officers has already submitted the petition to militia. But would they call their colleagues to account?” “Both employees and journalists finally got to the depot but they could never detect what and how much vanished as a result of so called ‘investigative actions’”). 16 July, ICTV showed a story that “metallurgists are on short rations again” because the scrap metal export quotas make the metallurgists use more expensive cast iron. This material violates the basic standards of information journalism and advocates the business interests of Viktor Pinchuk. The same day the channel shows a story promoting the book ‘Trilogy of Time’ by Yurii Scherbak (the channel claims “the book is already in the stores and is being sold out”). 14 July, 1+1 broadcast the material that the UIA airlines held by the owner of the channel sent three injured soldiers and a volunteer lady to Austria for rehabilitation. And 17 July, the material that UIA brought a sick child for operation abroad.

 Table 3. Materials with major violations: positive, no balance of viewpoints, materials about AUTHORITIES:

(on the right - July 2014, September 2014, October 2014, January 2015, April 2015, JULY 2015: TV channels - INTER, UKRAINE, ICTV, 1+1, UA: Pershyi, Channel 5, STB)

 When broadcasting improper materials that may indicate sponsorship (censorship), the channels violate the following standards:

Table 4.1. Violation of the standard of BALANCE OF VIEWPOINTS:

(on the right - July 2014, September 2014, October 2014, January 2015, April 2015, JULY 2015: TV channels - INTER, UKRAINE, ICTV, 1+1, UA: Pershyi, Channel 5, STB)

 Table 4.2. Violation of the standard of COMPLETENESS of information:

Table 4.3. Violation of the standard of SEPARATION OF FACTS FROM OPINIONS:


Table 4.4. Violation of the standard of RELIABILITY of information presentation:

Table 4.5. Violation of the standard of ACCURACY of information presentation:


2. Suppression of socially important information by the channels in July 2015

Table 5. Total number of suppressions of important subjects, opinions, facts or backgrounds:

(full size is here)

 Table 6. Number of suppressions of the information about different massive protest actions:

None of the mentioned channels reported about the event:

Owners of small retail outlets (MAF) blocked the Khreschatyk traffic with their cars (13 July)

 Table 7. Number of suppressions of the information related to curbs on free speech:

 Table 8. Number of suppressions of the information about military and other offences of Russian occupants and their satellites in Ukraine:

(full size is here)

 None of the channels reported about the following events:

  • UNO: home of every fifth in-migrant family is destroyed in Donbas (13 July)
  • RF increases threefold the number of submarines in the Black Sea (14 July)
  • Foreign Ministry of Ukraine makes a definite reprehension against the trial of Nadiia Savchenko in Donetsk, Rostov oblast (15 July)
  • Almost 1.3 million residents of occupied territories of Ukraine suffer from potable water shortage – UNICEF (15 July)
  • Insurgents shelled the post of OSCE observers with heavy weapons (17 July)
  • Insurgents caused 5.5 milliard UAH damage to the Donbas transport infrastructure (17 July)
  • Insurgent gangs under the RF leadership turn to 34 000 army – Ministry of Defence (17 July)

Table 9. Statements and actions of the international community in relation to the developments in Ukraine:

 None of the channels reported about the following events

  • OSCE: since the end of April the safety situation in Donbas has become worse (13 July)
  • Cameron: Russia getting more aggressive is one of the major UK threats (13 July)
  • EU is looking forward to strict investigation of Mukacheve incident – Tombinski (13 July)
  • IMF: the foreign currency loan law may harshly affect the Ukrainian banks and their customers (13 July)
  • IMF calls the Rada not no vote for seven drafts of tax laws (13 July)
  • Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Netherlands and Ukraine turned to the UN Security Council to create the international tribunal of MH17 airplane crash (14 July)
  • Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine recognized the seizure of Debaltseve by occupants to be the violation of Minsk Agreements (15 July)
  • Insurgents crashed down the Boeing on purpose by means of the rockets supplied by Russia – PM of Australia (17 July)
  • Liberals and democrats of the European Parliament urged to create the tribunal for the MH17 tragedy  (17 July)
  • International Community insists on fair investigation of the crashed down MH17 – Nuland (17 July)
  • If the Donbas situation escalates, the pressure on Russia will be increased – Nuland (18 July)

 Other important subjects left unsaid by all channels:

  • Donbas battalion commander accuses the authorities of preparation to Shyrokine surrender (13 July)
  • Over 6 months, Ukraine has decreased agricultural production almost by 10% (13 July)
  • The market of second-hand foreign cars in Ukraine has dropped by 64% (13 July)
  • Over 6 months, Ukraine has significantly decreased the meat and milk production (13 July)
  • Firtash’s company has increased its share in Sumygaz (13 July)
  • The RF Constitutional Court allowed to neglect the decisions of European Court of Human Rights in the country (14 July)
  • Firtash’s company in the Crimea serves the Russian ‘patriotic’ forum with participation of Dmytro Kyseliov and Russian nationalists (14 July)
  • Russia unilaterally moved the ‘national border’ of the self-declared South Ossetia 500 m deep into the territory of Georgia (15 July)
  • The Union of Journalists states that Yovbak’s press card is fake (15 July)
  • The OSCE Mission ignores the call of Ukraine to check the disguised weapon of insurgents – General Taran (16 July)
  • Oil production in Ukraine has dropped down by over 20% in 6 months (17 July)
  • RF Consul-General in Odessa is declared to be persona non grata and expelled from Ukraine – Security Service of Ukraine (17 July)

 Note: the 2015 data are for the periods of 13-19 July, 20-25 April, 19-24 January, and the 2014 data are for the periods of 6-11 October, 1-7 September, 7-13 July.

 The monitoring of adherence to the professional standards in the operation of the Ukrainian TV-channels’ information services is performed by Telekritika NGO with the support of Internews Network. The objective of the monitoring is to increase the media literacy of the Ukrainian society, to stimulate the media to be responsible, adhere to the journalism standards and improve the quality of media product.

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