Mon­i­tors say ‘jeansa’ per­me­ates new out­lets

Kyiv Post - - Business Focus - Kyiv Post staff writer Ok­sana Grytsenko can be reached at [email protected] com

ly marked paid ad­ver­tis­ing, but ac­cept $50,000 for a month of “reg­u­lar men­tion­ing of your politi­cian,” Bi­denko ex­plained.

But some­times jour­nal­ists just do the gov­ern­ment’s bid­ding for free.

Li­ga­chova said pro-gov­ern­ment politi­cians can or­der “jeansa” with­out pay­ing for it. “We have au­thor­i­ties that may just force TV chan­nels to give PR dis­guised as news sto­ries,” she said. “We have a mo­nop­oly of those in power who have the means to pres­sure me­dia own­ers.”

But politi­cians’ pref­er­ence for “jeansa” can also back­fire, since such sto­ries are eas­ily rec­og­nized by the au­di­ence, lead­ing to a loss of cred­i­bil­ity and trust.

Me­dia ex­pert Si­u­mar ex­plained the “jeansa” phe­nom­e­non by the ab­sence of a de­vel­oped me­dia busi­ness in Ukraine. Con­se­quently, me­dia out­lets – most of which are owned by one of five bil­lion­aires – serve merely as “in­stru­ments of influence and agree­ments for their own­ers.”

The PR spe­cial­ist who spoke to the Kyiv Post on con­di­tion of anonymity said politi­cians of­ten don’t be­lieve jour­nal­ists can be in­de­pen­dent. “So when some crit­i­cal story ap­pears in the me­dia about some politi­cian, he would call di­rectly to the me­dia owner and ask: ‘ Why are you af­ter me?’”

Mean­while, there are al­ways some jour­nal­ists, like for­mer STB jour­nal­ist Sokolenko, who refuse to par­tic­i­pate in paid-for sto­ries for eth­i­cal rea­sons. Sokolenko is cur­rently work­ing on a project to bring Ukraine its first pub­lic TV chan­nel.

Si­u­mar said she wor­ries the young gen­er­a­tion of would-be jour­nal­ists ac­cept “jeansa” as the norm. “They see that it is ev­ery­where and be­lieve there’s noth­ing wrong with it,” she said.

(Ed­i­tor’s Note: The Kyiv Post has a strict pol­icy against “jeansa,” ad­heres to the So­ci­ety of Pro­fes­sional Jour­nal­ists’ Code of Ethics and works to clearly sep­a­rate paid ad­ver­tise­ments from editoriall­y in­de­pen­dent news and opin­ions.)

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