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Ensuring viewers get the big picture in Russia and Ukraine

What does the Russian information war mean for the news industry? International media play a major role in forming the narrative on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine – and polarization is increasing as opposing sides try to take the lead in covering events for people living in affected regions.

DW prides itself on providing a unbiased voice to the media landscape. And to ensure that even more people can benefit from fair and balanced news and information, DW is producing two new 10-minute news formats in Russian and Ukrainian. From Monday to Friday, DW Nowosti and DW Nowyny provide audiences with news coverage on regional and European issues that they won’t find elsewhere with the support of local Russian and Ukrainian correspondents.

Broadcasting partners of DW Nowosti are currently TV Rain in Russia, LRT in Lithuania, Yerkir Media in Armenia, GPB 2 in Georgia and YES TV in Israel. There are on-going negotiations to include more partners soon. All broadcasts of both formats are always available online.

Across the spectrum of issues, there is bias and a need for objective information. Since the beginning of the current conflict in Ukraine, DW has provided a third perspective that can help people get the big picture. Geofaktor, DW’s news magazine for the region has been on air since January 2014. This information conflict looks likely to continue into the near future and DW will continue to provide a standard of journalism that everyone can count on.

Russian media outlets are afflicted by a  lack of objectivity – especially when reporting on events in Ukraine and eastern Europe. In a context that is packaged as professional journalism, innuendo, half-truths and outright lies can be propagated without any measure of veracity.

Media outlets from the “west” that take a hawkish stance on reporting Russian affairs tend to exacerbate the problem and can lend credibility to the assertions of Kremlin-controlled media. The best approach to address the tangled web of information coming out of Russian news outlets is to continue producing steady, solid and serious news reporting that maintains the core principles of journalism.

 

Date

2015-08-14 | 9:52

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Public discourse is still a contentious issue in modern Russia

Guest commentary

Boris Banchevsky, Head of Distribution for CIS

With the ongoing events in Ukraine and new international pressure building against Moscow, there is an acute need for accurate and objective information both domestically and abroad. As an international broadcaster based in Europe, DW can play an important role, not just through its own independent news coverage but also by supporting Russian media that tries to tell a different story than the state-controlled channels which are pervasive in the Russian media landscape.

There are a few points of light on the horizon for Russian journalism. TV Dozhd is one of the last truly independent media outlets in Russia and they also have recently added DW’s Russian-language news magazine, Geofaktor, to their programming catalogue. With this acquisition, DW can contribute directly to providing independent journalism to Russian audiences while making a statement for independent journalism.

TV Dozhd (“TV Rain” in Russian) first went on the air in 2010, operating in a Russian media landscape that was lacking impartial and independent news coverage. TV Dozhd’s audience grew quickly as they was doing what other channels weren’t– providing unbiased live broadcasts, interviews and independent global news along with critical, alternative coverage of important events and public personalities in Russia.

Despite this success, TV Dozhd nearly met its demise earlier this year after publishing an opinion poll asking if St. Petersburg (former Leningrad) should have been surrendered to the Nazis during World War II, in order to spare the immense loss of life.

Ostensibly for publicizing this question, nearly every major Russian cable and satellite provider dropped TV Dozhd, even after they removed the poll and apologized. As a result, TV Dozhd lost 90 percent of its advertising. According to an article written by Tikhon Dzyadko, the Deputy Editor at TV Dozhd, certain network heads revealed off the record that they were pressured to drop the channel by the Kremlin. TV Dozhd currently broadcasts online and charges a yearly subscription fee.

This proxy attack on independent journalism is no surprise in Russia, where many of those in charge see the purpose of the media as nothing more than a propaganda factory and real, investigative journalism is actively subverted both publically and in secret. The outspoken Russian journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, who was brutally murdered in 2006 for a still unknown client, comes to mind. She wrote in 2004 about her experience covering the Beslan school massacre by Chechen terrorists, “We are hurtling back into a Soviet abyss, into an information vacuum that spells death from our own ignorance. All we have left is the Internet, where information is still freely available.”

Now there is a new conflict being covered, but we also have more resources to tell the truth and publicize independent opinions. Independent media is critical for the development of a free society in Russia and through our active involvement, DW is making a statement that there should always be more than one voice telling the story.

Date

2014-08-22 | 11:10

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Protecting the fundamental rights of information and expression

The values of liberal democracy are firmly rooted in freedom of expression and information. These vital pillars of society however need to be protected as technology shifts the channels of information and new methods of control are applied. The current state of these fundamental rights in the digital world is on the agenda at the 2014 Global Media Forum.

The international human rights organization, Amnesty International, in cooperation with the German Institute for Human Rights, will cover these issues in a talk titled An ice age for privacy? The rights to free speech, information and privacy versus mass surveillance. The discussion will emphasize how privacy of information is essential to preserving freedom of expression by looking at examples such as Edward Snowden blowing the whistle on the NSA’s digital surveillance and exposing institutional violations of privacy. The talk also explores how to protect the media and whistleblowers and how much privacy must be exchanged in the name of security.

Reporters Without Borders will host a discussion on how digital technology enables journalists to reach sources and gather news more effectively while at the same time endangering their ability to keep that information secure. The talk titled strengthening freedom of information and source protection worldwide, will highlight methods used by journalists to protect their information while analyzing the motivations of so-called “enemies of the Internet”, who use digital technology for censorship rather than the diffusion of information.

Blogs have grown from being an informal method of online expression into a real force in sharing information, especially outside traditional channels which in certain cases are censored and controlled. In a talk hosted by IREX Europe titled The rise of citizen journalism and its impact on traditional journalism in Russia, the state of the blogosphere will be analyzed with a focus on Russian bloggers. Special emphasis will be placed on the Internet as a “digital battlefield” with new laws being used to restrict online freedom of information as online activists fight to be heard.

Next week we will look at selected examples of specific techniques and technologies that are being used in digital media and journalism.

Date

2014-06-11 | 2:17

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A clear voice in a war of words

Ingo MannteufelGuest Commentary

Ingo Mannteufel, Head of Russian and Eurasian Services at DW

The current conflict in eastern Ukraine is being played out as much on the front pages and primetime newscasts as it is on the ground in the affected areas. Misinformation coming from Eastern Ukraine is rampant and events become confused as both sides attempt to control the narrative.

Responsible journalism does not contribute to a single agenda or fan the flames of public animosity. In the case of Ukraine, the role of the impartial observer becomes integral in presenting a sober and realistic assessment of the facts aside from jingoistic nationalism or the fog of war. What is said becomes critical in a situation where words are being used as ammunition.

Getting the facts straight in a conflict zone can be a daunting task. In Eastern Ukraine, reporters on the ground have been threatened, accused of telling lies and even imprisoned by pro-Russian separatists. There is a clear and present atmosphere of media control. The United Nations has already called for action against propaganda and misinformation in Ukraine illustrating the need for a reliable point of view.

As an international media outlet with coverage in Russian and Ukrainian, DW can play a very unique role as an impartial broker of information that provides an unbiased presentation of events directly to those affected. Delivering impartial news and analysis is however a big challenge. While neutrality is a fundamental principle of good journalism, certain information will always take precedence. To compensate for this, we always try and provide a wide range of perspectives.

At DW we have seen the numbers of people using our Russian and Ukrainian news services rise dramatically as the situation continues to escalate. This demonstrates a direct demand for the services of third party media organizations. As the conflict in the region goes on, the truth will only become more unclear. That’s why we feel it is the duty of international broadcasters, like ourselves, to step in and make sure that all facets of the stories are being told – to ensure that everyone can build their own opinions.

Follow me on Twitter for more news and analysis on the situation in Ukraine

 

 

 

 

Date

2014-05-15 | 11:27

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Market roundup: May 2014

 

Europe

The compact online version of DW’s Russian-language news program Geofaktor has been a big success since it was launched in mid-March. The 13th broadcast alone was watched 430,000 times. Almost all of the video content was accessed via DW’s online Russian-language media center. The majority of viewers were directed there via a banner-ad campaign on the popular Russian news website, news.mail.ru. On YouTube, Geofaktor episodes were accessed an additional 50,000 times during the second half of March.

The ongoing geo-political tensions in Ukraine have created a high demand for unbiased news coverage delivered in Russian. This is made clear by the burgeoning rise in page visits on DW Russian. The number rose by nearly 4 million visits between February and March 2014. A large amount of that traffic came via DW’s Ukrainian online partner, ukr.net, as well as the Russian search engine, Rambler.ru. Also In March, visits to DW Ukrainan doubled from 1 to 2.2 million, with most of that traffic coming via ukr.net.

North America

After a series of extensive and lengthy negotiations, a new transmission contract has been successfully arranged between DW and Canada’s largest cable provider, Rogers Cable. Rogers will now carry the English-language flagship channel, DW, and the German-language channel, DW (Amerika). Previously, only DW had been offered as a part of the English news package. Starting at the end of May, DW (Amerika) will be offered à la carte as a single subscription channel. Rogers brings DW’s quality programming to a large audience of political and business leaders with a coverage area that includes Canada’s capital Ottawa and its largest city, Toronto.

South America

The Peruvian online news portal, Peru.com, is a new DW partner and will regularly include full articles from DW. The website belongs to the El Comercio group, which occupies 75 percent of the market share in Peruvian print media. A tracking code developed by DW’s market and media research will count how often DW articles are accessed.

 

 

 

Date

2014-05-07 | 1:55

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