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Ukraine’s reporters adapt amid media restrictions and pressure of war



After avoiding criticism of the authorities at the start of the war, Ukrainian journalists have begun reporting allegations of corruption by officials again. But wartime censorship and the army’s role in protecting their country from an existential threat has made reporting on the military a challenge.

Journalist Yuriy Nikolov was leaked evidence that army food procurement contracts had been inflated in January. But conscious of not wanting to harm the war effort, he said in an interview with Ukrainska Pravda that he went to great lengths not to publish them.

But when he approached defence officials with the findings and found their response “was not what it should be”, he said he sensed that the matter was not going to be pursued officially and decided he had to run the story.

In the contracts, several food staples were as much as three times the supermarket price, with a single egg costing the equivalent of 37p. The payment for the contract was due on 1 February. “I knew I had to publish them before the payment was made,” said Nikolov. “For this [much] money, they could buy weapons. If that much was actually stolen, we could lose the war [if it carried on].”


Nikolov said that he and other investigative journalists paused their activities at the beginning of the war and had gradually resumed work in the autumn. “I will say that during the invasion, I have turned down many stories,” he said.

The contracts’ publication in late January by the news site ZN,UA was a tipping point, along with the news on the same day that a deputy infrastructure minister had been arrested for siphoning aid money intended to buy generators.

Sources in the presidential administration said Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was furious, according to Ukrainska Pravda journalists. It prompted the dismissal of 15 senior government and regional officials, including two senior defence officials.

Anti-corruption measures are one of the requirements for Ukraine’s EU membership status and Zelenskiy was responding to disquiet in wider Ukrainian society over corruption at a time when most are regularly donating money to aid the war effort.

For Mykhailo Tkach, a leading investigative journalist who investigated several of the 15 dismissed officials, including the now former member of Zelenskiy’s inner circle, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the action taken by the president was a sign of positive change.

“It is a signal for journalists that they are heard as the ‘fourth power’ [and] a signal for other powerful people that there is no tolerance for corruption,” said Tkach. “In order to defeat the external enemy, it is necessary to simultaneously overcome the internal one – corruption.”

“Regarding [press freedom], as a journalist, I am in such a situation for the first time. I feel doubly responsible for my work and every word I say,” said Tkach.

But despite the renewed vigour to investigate government officials, reporting on the military itself is curtailed by a combination of the wartime media restrictions, introduced on 3 March, and a widely shared sense that Ukraine’s army is protecting journalists too.

The wartime decree includes a ban on reporting the progress of active and planned battles, revealing a soldier’s name or face without permission, and reporting on the whereabouts and movement of equipment and troops and propaganda or justification of Russia’s war. Under the measures, Ukrainian soldiers are also prohibited from talking to the media without permission. A breach can lead to the removal of accreditation for frontline areas.

“We discussed [the restrictions] at the beginning of the war, among our media circles, but we decided to accept most of them because it’s a matter of our survival and all of us knew what it was like to live and work in a war,” said Oksana Romaniuk, director of the Institute for of Mass Information, which works to protect and boost journalism. She says the community has successfully made the military compromise on some of the measures.

While some of the restrictions have been easy to adapt, the state has a monopoly on significant information because of the war – such as the total number of casualties, which is now classified information. Ukraine’s top general said the total was 13,000 in late November but graveyards across Ukraine, and the number of social media posts paying tribute to the dead soldiers, indicate the number is much higher.

“I think we will publish it when we know it, but again it will be discussed among ourselves first,” said Romaniuk.

Meanwhile, there has only been one investigation alleging wrongdoing inside Ukraine’s military (as opposed to investigations about government offices).

In August, Anna Myroniuk, an investigative journalist at the Kyiv Independent, published an investigation into systematic abuse and misappropriation within Ukraine’s International Legion, a unit for foreign nationals. The Kyiv Independent ran an editorial explaining their decision to publish the information.

“It was kind of bit of a brave move [on our part] to be the first,” said Myroniuk. “We spent a long time thinking about how to better present the story so it didn’t reveal any state secrets … and so it couldn’t be used by Russian propaganda.”

“The need to [investigate wrongdoing] right now is even greater … every single hryvnia right now must be spent on the defence of Ukraine,” said Myroniuk.

Her findings have yet to receive any concrete reaction from the general staff, the defence ministry or investigative bodies.

While investigations of the state and government conduct are growing in online media, TV media, with the exception of the public broadcaster, has become a de facto mouthpiece for the presidential administration, said Romaniuk.

All the main TV channels have merged into one channel known as the Telemarathon, which broadcasts uniform news content across all channels. The editorial policy is closely connected with the incumbent government and presidential administration. It almost never criticises or questions the authorities.

The Telemarathon started as an emergency measure at the beginning of the invasion. But with its regular cohort of top officials and experts close to the president, it has also raised questions about freedom of speech.

“I think it’s served its purpose and now it has to go,” said Romaniuk of the Telemarathon. “There are two media spaces in Ukraine right now, online and TV.”


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Social media's new pay-for-play rules – Axios



Illustration of a phone with a mobile payment icon on the screen, unzipping to show cards and money inside.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Social media is getting pricier for users who want to unlock special features and privileges.

Why it matters: Users who once believed they were contributing their time and creativity are now being asked to pay up by cash-hungry platforms.


Driving the news: Elon Musk on Monday tweeted that beginning April 15, only tweets by verified users will show up in Twitter’s default main feed of “For You” recommendations. Verification, formerly a service Twitter offered public figures, is now available only to $8-a-month subscribers.

  • The new strategy “is the only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over. It is otherwise a hopeless losing battle,” Musk argued. “Voting in polls will require verification for same reason.”

Between the lines: Musk has tried to shift more of Twitter’s business towards charging for subscriptions amid advertising pullback.

  • In addition to charging users to be verified, he also began charging companies for access to Twitter’s API, or backend interface, something many used to be able to access for free.

Be smart: Other social networks have made changes to their feeds to prioritize paid traffic over organic posts, but Musk’s moves are more drastic.

  • As The New York Times’ Mike Isaac notes, when Facebook transitioned its algorithm to prioritize posts from friends over Pages, brands and news companies were forced to buy ads if they wanted to be seen.

The big picture: Twitter isn’t alone in its push for more stable, recurring revenues. Other social networks, having reached a point of maturity and a slowdown in the ad market, are also looking to make more money from subscriptions and licensing.

  • Meta launched its version of a paid verification subscription service in the U.S. last week. Snapchat introduced a new consumer subscription last year.
  • Snapchat also last week launched its first enterprise software business, licensing its augmented reality software and tools to enterprise companies.
  • [T]his opportunity is major, not just for Snap, but for businesses of all sizes,” said Jill Popelka, head of AR enterprise services for Snap Inc. Snap will first focus on licensing out its tech and services to the retail industry before testing other markets.

Yes, but: Musk has announced many new policies and promises from his Twitter account that have fallen by the wayside or remain unfulfilled.

The bottom line: Users may not need all of the new paid perks they’re being offered, but tech firms are desperate to sell them. 

  • Musk admitted to employees this week that Twitter is worth less than half of what it was when he bought it.
  • Stocks for Meta and Snap have both lost all of of their pandemic momentum since the ad market began to crater in 2022.

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Myanmar military dissolves Suu Kyi’s NLD party: State media




Party of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi among 40 political parties dissolved after failing to meet registration deadline, according to state television.

Myanmar’s military-controlled election commission has announced that the National League for Democracy Party (NLD) would be dissolved for failing to re-register under a new electoral law, according to state television.

The NLD led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was among 40 political parties dissolved on Tuesday after they failed to meet the ruling military’s registration deadline for an election, according to state television.


In a nightly news bulletin, Myawaddy TV announced the NLD among those who had not signed up to the election and were therefore automatically disbanded. The NLD has said it would not contest what it calls an illegitimate election.

The army carried out a coup in February 2021 after the NLD won the November 2020 parliamentary elections and subsequently jailed its leader Suu Kyi.

Suu Kyi, 77, is serving prison sentences totaling 33 years after being convicted in a series of politically tainted prosecutions brought by the military. Her supporters say the charges were contrived to keep her from actively taking part in politics.

The party won a landslide victory in the 2020 general election, but less than three months later, the army kept Suu Kyi and all the elected lawmakers from taking their seats in parliament.

The army said justified the coup saying there was a massive poll fraud, though independent election observers did not find any major irregularities.

Some critics of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who led the takeover and is now Myanmar’s top leader, believe he acted because the vote thwarted his own political ambitions.

No date has been set for the new polls. They had been expected by the end of July, according to the army’s own plans.

But in February, the military announced an unexpected six-month extension of its state of emergency, delaying the possible legal date for holding an election.

It said security could not be assured. The military does not control large swaths of the country, where it faces widespread armed resistance to its rule.


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Gautam Adani acquires 49% in Quintillion Business Media for Rs 48 crore



Billionaire Gautam Adani’s AMG Media Networks has acquired about a 49 per cent stake in Raghav Bahl-curated digital business news platform Quintillion Business Media Pvt Ltd for about Rs 48 crore.

In a stock exchange filing, Adani Enterprises Ltd said its subsidiary AMG Media Networks Ltd has completed the acquisition which was originally announced in May last year.

The transaction was completed on March 27 for “Rs 47.84 crore”, it said.

Quintillion Business Media runs the news platform Bloomberg Quint, now called BQ Prime.


Adani group had set up AMG Media Networks for its foray into businesses of “publishing, advertising, broadcasting, distribution of content over different types of media networks”.

In May last year, it had signed a shareholders’ agreement with Quintillion Media Ltd (QML) and QBML.

In September 2021, it hired veteran journalist Sanjay Pugalia to lead its media company Adani Media Ventures.



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