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IMI Publishes Report on How Ukrainian Online Media Cover Vaccines

February 2 – The Institute of Mass Information (IMI) published the results of its online media monitoring for December 21-27, 2020, and January 11-17, 2021 on how Ukrainian media are covering the coronavirus vaccine.

The results showed that:

  • Ukrinform information agency is the most active in covering vaccination issues (with 9.4% of its online news content about coronavirus vaccination), while Tyzhden and Politeka are the least active with 0.5% and 0.9% respectively;
  • Around 9.8% of vaccination-related content contained manipulations, while 19.3% of content were examples of constructive news stories;*
  • Most online news stories were neutral in tone (63.2%), 15.2% were marked as having a positive tone, while 21.6% had a negative tone (covering vaccination-related death cases, allergic reactions, complications, and ineffectiveness);
  • Ministry of Healthcare’s communication on vaccination is considered to be weak by IMI experts: media covered conflicting data from the Ministry on the effectiveness of the Chinese vaccine and information on abuses in the purchase of vaccines;
  • Pro-Russian online media outlets (112.ua and Strana.ua) promoted the Russian vaccine Sputnik V. The supply of this vaccine was reported to be negotiated between Vladimir Putin and pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk; and
  • Out of all the vaccines, Ukrainian online media mostly covered Pfizer/BioNtech’s (43.8% of all stories on vaccines), followed by CoronaVac (Sinovaс) at 21.4%, Sputnik V at 14.4%, Moderna at 11.2%, and AstraZeneca at 6.4%.

IMI’s media monitoring report was followed by practical recommendations to journalists on how to cover vaccines, namely:

  • To fact check the information before publishing it, including information about research such as who conducted the research and are the results represented correctly;
  • To consult with experts;
  • To use simple and understandable language for audiences;
  • To avoid images and videos of upset or anxious people crying during the vaccination process; and
  • To follow surveys on Ukrainian attitudes to coronavirus vaccination.

*Constructive News Stories give the audience an in-depth view of the story subject. They bring context, perspective, background, and understanding which helps spark debate. They provide a more balanced perspective of the world, covering not only violence, death, conflict, failure, or disaster, but also consider potential solutions to the challenges covered in the reporting.

IMI conducted its media monitoring from December 21 to 27, 2020, and from January 11 to 17, 2021, having analyzed 1,073 content pieces at 20 national online media. Among those media monitored were 11 with the largest online audiences, and nine that are signatories to the memorandum of the Media Movement for professional standards.

The eleven with the largest online audiences are:

  1. obozrevatel.com,
  2. segodnya.ua,
  3. 24tv.ua,
  4. tsn.ua,
  5. strana.ua,
  6. pravda.com.ua,
  7. rbc.ua,
  8. politeka.net,
  9. 112.ua,
  10. korrespondent.net, and
  11. gordonua.com.

The nine signatories to the Media Movement’s memorandum are:

  1. nv.ua,
  2. liga.net,
  3. ukrinform.ua,
  4. zn.ua,
  5. censor.net.ua,
  6. tyzhden.ua,
  7. interfax.com.ua,
  8. Suspilne.media, and
  9. Bykvu.com

More on the website of the Institute of Mass Information in Ukrainian.