Ukrainian media biased about UOC


Eastern Europe


A woman holds picture depicting Metropolitan Pavlo, director of the Lavra, standing next to the Russian President Vladimir Putin and reading "Killers!!!" as they rally at the entrance to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra in Kyiv. The Kyiv Pechersk Lavra was inhabited by monks from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is accused of collaboration with the Russian invaders. Photo AFP, Sergei Supinsky

The Ukrainian media are biased regarding news about the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Analysts counted that 82 per cent of the publications contain hate speech.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is very unpopular in Ukraine because of its affiliation with the Moscow Patriarchate. Even though the UOC has been very clear about its pro-Ukrainian stance, the population is prone to believing it collaborates with the Russian invaders. Now, it seems that the Ukrainian media share that public opinion.

Analysts of the Institute of Mass Information concluded that after it monitored the country's most significant online publications, SPHZ news reports. The researchers conducted their survey between April 1 and April 5, right at the time when the controversy around the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Monastery was reaching a boiling point. The analysts reviewed 548 articles from websites, including RBC Ukraine, Telegraph and Ligra.

Emotionally loaded headlines

They concluded that only a third of the editorial offices followed the code of journalistic ethics and standards when covering information about the UOC. Among them were Gordon, Correspondent, Liga, Ukrainska Pravda and Censor, SPHZ news reports.

The other investigated media "resorted to condemning and emotionally loaded headlines in relation to not only the leaders but also to the believers of the UOC", the researchers concluded. In some of the articles published about the abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, the analysts even encountered "emotive terms, hate speech and manipulation."

Negative perception

The analysts believe that this language is unacceptable. "Even if the journalists do not like this topic very much, and they have their own clear opinion about the leaders of a certain religious structure, they should still adhere to the Code of Journalistic Ethics and Journalistic Standards", they said, as reported by the website of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The analysts do not believe that the violation of the journalistic code happened by accident. They suspect that the media deliberately try to form a negative perception of members of the UOC, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church writes on its website.

The church concludes that the study results show "systematic discrimination and violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of religious citizens of Ukraine, which occurs at the national level."



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