May 18, 2022
The decision has just been made by the Alliance’s General Assembly in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Earlier, on Feb. 27 this year, immediately after Russia unleashed a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Alliance’s Council decided to immediately suspend TASS’ membership in EANA until the General Assembly considers the issue and makes its final decision. Thus, an extraordinary session of the General Assembly was set to take place on the sidelines of the Alliance’s annual spring conference. “We are dealing with a Russian state institution, which, following the criminal instructions of Russia’s top leadership, has been spreading false lies and misinformation for years. Accordingly, the agency is one of the most important cogs and tools in Russia’s system of propaganda and withholding the truth. In particular, creating an illusory world, a parallel reality in which there is no place for a terrible, brutal war in Ukraine, but a ‘special operation in Ukraine,’ TASS has become an active participant in the Kremlin’s criminal actions against our country. Therefore, the Russian agency has neither moral nor professional grounds to remain in such an authoritative circle as the European Alliance of News Agencies,” Ukrinform Director General Oleksandr Kharchenko said in his speech.
Wojciech Surmacz, the president of the PAP Polish Press Agency, emotionally addressed his colleagues, asking them: “What else needs to happen for us to be unanimous in our decisions on Russia – a nuclear strike? Then why not act?” Heads of news agencies of Croatia and Bulgaria supported the position of Ukraine and Poland in their respective speeches.
During the vote at the General Assembly, the decision to suspend membership of the Russian government-run agency was supported by more than three-quarters of the present members of the Alliance.
Thus, the TASS Russian News Agency is not currently a member of the Alliance and, therefore, has no right to participate in its meetings, conferences, the General Assembly, and cannot be represented in elected bodies of the Alliance, cannot delegate or transfer its powers. The leading state news agency of the aggressor power has been deprived of the right to participate in the work of the alliance in any form and in any format.
Following the General Assembly, EANA Secretary General Alexandru Ion Giboi emphasized: “The Council (Alliance) is working with allies to work out the toughest possible conditions under which TASS can return.”
At the same time, the Alliance expressed full support for the Ukrainian National News Agency Ukrinform. “We will continue to help and do everything in our power to support Ukrinform, our colleagues and friends at Ukrinform,” Ion Giboi assured. The option of holding the autumn conference and the EANA’s General Assembly is being considered.
The European Alliance of News Agencies was founded in 1956 and today unites more than 30 leading news agencies in Europe. The Ukrinform Agency represents Ukraine in the Alliance since 1995.