EANA set to vote on TASS exclusion on Sep 14

EANA set to vote on TASS exclusion on Sep 14

War in Ukraine

That's according to Ukrinform.

According to the EANA Statutes, three-quarters of members’ votes attending the General Assembly are required to exclude a member of the Alliance (32 European information agencies are currently members of EANA and actively participate in its work).

On February 27, 2022, a few days into Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine, at a meeting convened following a corresponding appeal by Poland’s PAP news agency, the Board (EANA’s governing body) suspended TASS’s membership.

In mid-May 2022, the decision to suspend TASS membership was approved by a vote of member agencies at the extraordinary General Assembly held in Sarajevo. At the same time, not enough votes had been gathered to exclude TASS from the Alliance.

The question of once again putting to a vote the issue of expelling TASS was laid down in the agenda of the General Assembly, set to be held in Paris on September 14, at the request of Ukrinform. The National News Agency of Ukraine argues that TASS remaining a member of the Alliance goes against the provisions of EANA Statutes, its goals and values

“The number of votes cast at the General Assembly will show the level of readiness of Europe’s leading news agencies, Alliance members, to take a fundamental stand against propaganda and disinformation massively produced by Russia, which more than one and a half years into the full-scale war has gotten rid of all free media outlets, and ultimately weaponized the remaining ones,” Ukrinform Director General Oleksandr Kharchenko notes.

As of today, since TASS’s membership has been suspended, it has no right to participate in EANA’s meetings, conferences, and the General Assembly, and neither can it be represented in elected bodies of the Alliance, delegate, or transfer its powers.

At the same time, in its news reports, TASS claims it continues to take an active part in EANA’s work.

At the outset of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, TASS CEO was Sergey Mykhaylov. In April 2022, the European Union imposed sanctions on the latter given his top role in Russia’s largest news agency, which through its extensive network of foreign offices systemically spreads "the Kremlin’s false narrative on the situation in Ukraine." Later, similar sanctions were imposed by Great Britain and Switzerland.

Since July 2023, TASS has been headed by Andrey Kondrashov, who prior to that had been first deputy chief of Russia’s State Holding Company VGTRK, being responsible for the “information policy” of Russia’s leading propaganda TV channels Russia-1, Russia-24, and RTR-Planet. The European Union added VGTRK to the sanctions list on December 16, 2022, with the following reasoning: "Channels owned by VGTRK provide a platform for Olga Skabeeva, Dmytro Kiselyov, Vladimir Soloviev and others, who are spreading propaganda and disinformation related to Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine."

Kondrashov himself was designated by the EU on June 23, 2023, with the following reasoning: "Being one of its key executives, Andrey Kondrashov is directly responsible for actions of this media corporation (VGTRK – ed.). As the First Deputy Director General in charge of information and political broadcasting, he has a direct influence on the way VGTRK informs people about Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the steps taken by the Russian Government."

On October 14, 2022, Kondrashov was put on Canada's sanctions list entitled "Russian Disinformation Agents" for facilitating and supporting an unjustified invasion by Russia and its attempts to annex Ukrainian territory.

At the beginning of 2018, Kondrashov served as press secretary for the then-presidential candidate Vladimir Putin’s campaign headquarters. In 2000, 2014, and 2023, Putin awarded him for covering the Second Chechen War, occupation of Crimea, and a full-scale war against Ukraine, respectively.

The European Alliance of News Agencies was founded in 1956 and today unites more than 30 leading information agencies in Europe - AFP (France), ANSA (Italy), ATA (Albania), Anadolu Agency (Türkiye), ANA (Andorra), ANA-MPA (Greece ), APA (Austria), Belga (Belgium), BTA (Bulgaria), HINA (Croatia), CNA (Cyprus), CTK (the Czech Republic), ANP (the Netherlands), FENA (Bosnia and Herzegovina), STT (Finland), DPA (Germany), MTI (Hungary), Keystone-SDA (Switzerland), KosovaPress (Republic of Kosovo), LUSA (Portugal), NTB (Norway), PA Media (United Kingdom), PAP (Poland), Ritzaus (Denmark) , Agerpres (Romania), TASR (Slovakia), STA (Slovenia), EFE (Spain), AZERTAC (Azerbaijan), Tanjug (Serbia), TT (Sweden), and Ukrinform (Ukraine).

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