Reuters did not stop broadcasting Russian propaganda despite officially refusing to cooperate with TASS (The main news organization of the Russian government). Other western media should also have learned since 2014 to call a spade a spade.
Even in the eighth year of Russia’s war against Ukraine, many respectable Western media have still not learned to use the correct terms. The most recent case is the coverage of an imitation of voting in the occupied parts of Ukraine, where people under the supervision of submachine gunners had to tick a box for the inclusion of these territories in Russia.
You think it‘s not too hard to distinguish this fake referendum is a farce and a special information operation on the part of Russia. Wrong. For Reuters, it’s just an impossible task. Covering the progress of this Russian special operation, Reuters wrote the following in a Twitter announcement:
“Over 96% said to favor joining Russia in first vote results from occupied Ukraine regions”.
First, this sounds like a direct quote from some TASS press release. It’s Russian propaganda in pure form. As in many other cases, the main problem with Reuters is that they pass off the statements of the Russian side as something that could be true. They legitimize Russia, which lies all the time, as a full-fledged participant in the discussion, whose point of view should be cited without verification or refutation.
However, this approach leads to Reuters becoming a relay of Russian lies and propaganda. It would seem that the “presumption of guilt” should be applied to all of Russia’s statements: “a lie until proven otherwise.” However, Reuters editors and journalists continue to help Russia in the information war, presenting the Kremlin’s point of view as equal.
Well, let’s analyze this tweet in detail: First, it was not a vote. And that’s the main problem with this particular message. It was an imitation of voting, but it was so fake that even Reuters could understand it – for example, the anonymity of voting was not ensured.
Secondly, Reuters does not even mention such a trifle as the fact that in general, only about 1% of the population from some of these occupied territories voted. After criticism, Reuters corrected the tweet, but it got worse.
“CORRECTION: Moscow state news agency RIA said votes within Russia in so-called referendums, which Kyiv and the West say are a sham, showed over 96% favored annexing occupied Ukraine regions. We deleted a tweet saying the votes came from occupied regions”
This is not the case that “Kyiv and the West say referenda is a sham” – it is a sham. Got it, Reuters editors?
“Votes within Russia”? Really, Reuters? Since what time occupied territories in Ukraine became Russia?
In another headline, Reuters author Mark Trevelyan writes: “Big majority said to favor joining Russia in first vote results on future of occupied Ukraine regions”. Correction: a big majority (from less than 5% of the whole population) said (were forced to say) to favor joining Russia in the first vote results (on a sham referendum) on the future of occupied Ukraine regions (of Ukraine regions partially occupied by Russia) – just let me remind here you that Reuters is a member of the Trusted News Initiative and a “reputable fact checker.”
After many angry comments, Reuters was forced to redact the original story. However, similar cases happen with this agency all the time.
Reuters began actively quoting Russian propaganda ever since it signed a lucrative contract and included the Russian news agency TASS in its digital platform in June 2020.
The TASS partnership with Reuters Connect offered customers “access to breaking news and exclusive video; videos on the Kremlin and Russian President, Vladimir Putin, as well as feature videos and general news.” – i.e. Russian propaganda.
Reuters has removed TASS from its business-to-business marketplace for customers, according to a Reuter’s message to staff in March, 2022 amid growing criticism of how Russia’s state-owned news agency is portraying the war in Ukraine.
But neither the beginning of the war nor the termination of the agreement with TASS has stopped the habit of the Reuters agency acting as a direct relay of Russian propaganda. This is especially worrying because many news items published by many other media outlets frequently start with the Reuters feed.