For the international community Russian LIfeNews TV channel is a classic example of the worst propaganda and misinformation. It’s so-called journalists follow insurgents in Donbass and appear with their camera as soon as shelling or fight begin. Some even claim, if you see Russian journalists with camera, expect bombing or shelling. LifeNews poses itself as “the most breaking news”. They always ready to pay for unique content – user’s footage of catastrophes or accidents.
This week LifeNews team among many other media came to Minsk Summit – Ukraine-Russian-Germany-France talks to stop the war in Donbass through cease fire. On the eve of talk LifeNews journalist Aleksandr Yanyshev assaulted two Ukrainian journalists. He started yelling at them and when run out of arguments, he started …barking. It was shot by other journalists and published online.
The episode was widely discussed in social media and central Ukrainian TV stations. Users started mocking the behavior of Russian journalists producing Coub video. Coub is a platform that helps to create looped video. It is easily managed and let users add music and footage from elsewhere.
The best examples of mocking LifeNews incident in Minsk are bellow:
1. LifeNews and Russian talk – http://coub.com/view/4z8z7
2. Lifenews and Who Let the Dog Out? http://coub.com/view/4z9nj
3. LifeNews as idiot http://coub.com/view/4zbu2
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Russian media are famous for biased coverage of politics, especially regarding the war in Ukraine, led by insurgents and backed by Russian military. Many Russians see the war in Ukraine just as a minor episode of a greater geopolitical conflict – the one between West (civilized world) and East (Russia). Thus, the humanitarian catastrophe in Donbass and thousands of lives of local population and soldiers do not matter.
In video bellow, Russian journalists discuss so-called “parade” of Russian troops to Warsaw, Berlin and other European capitals. Initially, I thought, the program is a kind of John Stewart’s “The Daily Show”, but those journalists pretend to do reporting – discussing the scenarios of the future preparations to May 9 celebration – anniversary of the victory in the World War II. Meanwhile some pro-Ukrainian activists prepared subtitles in the video to target the international community.
Second video shows insurgents in Lugansk regions addressing to public on the eve of Orthodox Christmas. A girl sends best wishes with Christmas and hopes for the victory in a fight against Ukraine. “But if we gonna loose, we will blow the world”, – she says to threaten the world with nuclear blast. That’s how the creativity for so-called “ruskiy mir” (Russian world) works.
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LifeNews, a Russian tabloid, serving as one of the key propaganda news resources in Russian, utilizes social media to disseminate manipulations and fabrications covering Ukrainian events. The sophisticated work of the newsroom anticipates the active use of Twitter and YouTube.
On May 18, 2014, Ukrainian military seized in Donetsk region two Russians who claimed to be journalists of LifeNews. Ukrainian law enforcement agencies accused Russians of “cooperation with terrorists”, fighting against Ukrainian army near Sloviansk.
In response, LifeNews launched the campaign calling to “save our guys”. Only in Twitter up to 70,000 tweets have been published with hashtag #saveourguys. Russians also appealed to UN and OSCE demanding to free their “journalists.” Ukrainians published evidences of close cooperation between LifeNews representatives and terrorists.
Meanwhile LifeNews continues to manipulate – the recent false they circulated was the news about “killed child” during the anti-terrorist operation in Donetsk airport on May 27. The photo taken to illustrate the “cruelty” of Ukrainian army against civilians, in fact, was a photo from Syria.
Note: LifeNews.ru was launched in 2009 as a yellow news site and since then it became one of the main news source for the Russian audience. Since its launch, the site started paying fees for video footage from witnesses. In 2013, a news TV channels was set based on the Lifenews site. It has journalists in 20 Russian cities.
Alongside the work of professional journalists, the events in Ukraine showed a huge involvement of Internet users and media activists in reporting on the developments in the protests and the conflict with Russia. With the help of modern technologies, such as Twitter, Facebook, Ustream and YouTube, users provided evidence, shared impressions, helped in news gathering and distribution, coordinated efforts, and mobilized supporters for these causes. Social media became a hub for hundreds of grassroots initiatives that mobilized hundreds of thousands of active citizens across Ukraine and worldwide, interested in the Ukrainian events. The scale of such media activism could not be ignored by professional news organizations, and step-by-step they were accepting social media as a source in newsgathering.
The rise of social media use regarding the events in Ukraine showed remarkable numbers. Twitter, an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read short, 140-character text messages called “tweets”, was the fastest way to learn news about the recent events in Ukraine. In the period of February 10-March 12, 2014, 3,785,648 tweets with the hashtag #ukraine were written by users of Twitter. With the outbreak of the Crimean crisis, the interest in Ukraine on Twitter was comparable to the interest in the 86th Academy Awards ceremony. Continue reading
Russian informational agency ITAR-TASS, one of the oldest in the world, has turned to be a propaganda machine of the Russian government. During the Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, ITAR-TASS disseminates false news, in particular, the one, that Ukrainian government ordered to delete Russian-language pages of official sites in Ukraine. Those so called news are absurd and are not proved by any sources.
Recently, Ukrainian journalists have launched at least two sites that analyze fake news and false from Russian media – stopfake.org and fakecontrol.org. Nevertheless, Russian media continue to lead informational war against Ukraine by means of all government-controlled media by disseminating false and propaganda. It worths to admit, there are many balanced news from independent Russian Internet sites, in particular: www.novayagazeta.ru, www.vedomosti.ru, www.themoscowtimes.com, www.gazeta.ru
Ukrainian revolution would have not resulted if social media and the Internet had not been available to the citizens. The first call to come to the Independence square to protest has been posted in Facebook by a journalist Mustafa Nayem on Nov 21, 2014. But even more, the development of digital culture will be crucial for the success of Ukraine in the nearest years.
How do social media and the Internet influence the social order? Here is a digest of recent developments:
The New York Times refers to Facebook as a source by quoting Ukrainian officials:
“Berkut is gone,” the acting interior minister, Arsen Avakov, announced in a posting on Facebook. Many Ukrainian progressive politicians see social media as a direct tool to spread a word of their appeals and calls.
UT-1, an official first TV channel in Ukraine agreed to provide Hromadske.tv, which is online TV channel, couple of hours of broadcasting per day. The context: UT-1 has bebe the most manipulative TV channel during Yanukovych regime and it was fully controlled by the previous government.
A new news site HUBs http://hubs.com.ua has been launched on Feb 21. The project is run by ex-journalists of Forbes Ukraine, who retired from the magazine in Nov 2013 as a protest against censorship by a new owner. The project has been working for two months, initially the articles have been published in Facebook until the site was built.
The issue of lustration for politicians and ex-state officials is widely discussed in the Internet. Hundreds of Facebook posts have been published during last days. There are couple of sites targeting the issue:
– #НеБутиСкотом http://skoty.info/ – a comprehensive crowdsourcing approach to collect information about politicians, police, judges and thugs (titushki) on one resource.
– We remember http://lustrationukraine.org/ – a site I have launched two days ago to collect video with the speeches of the most outrages politicians.
– Activists have published a questionary on state officials in Kyiv, asking users to report in those who should be under lustration.
Today I have launched a site which collects evidences for the lustration in Ukraine –lustrationukraine.org. The site primarily features speeches of Party of Regions politicians, those who defended riot police, rejected European integration or violated the laws by voting for other deputies in the Parliament. Such Party of Regions members as Olena Bondarenko, Oleg Tsarov, Sergey Efremov, Myhail Dobkin, Gennadiy Kernes, Mihail Chechetov have to be banned from taking any government posts in the future due to their unethical behavior, lie and corruption.
Everyone can join the resource by sending me the links on video to firstname.lastname@example.org