http://religions.unian.net/) took place at the news agency, UNIAN, as part of a round table discussion “Religious subjects in the secular mass media: problems and prospects.”" />

Presentation of new project “UNIAN Religion”

Monday, 29 June 2009, 18:53
On 23 June, 2009, a presentation of a new project “UNIAN Religion” (http://religions.unian.net/) took place at the news agency, UNIAN, as part of a round table discussion “Religious subjects in the secular mass media: problems and prospects.”
On 23 June, 2009, a presentation of a new project “UNIAN Religion” (http://religions.unian.net/) took place at the news agency, UNIAN, as part of a round table discussion “Religious subjects in the secular mass media: problems and prospects.” The participants of the round table included representatives of different religious confessions, state institutions, social organizations, and journalists. The participants exchanged opinions about the problems of reporting religious subjects in the secular mass media, and also made suggestions about how to increase the level of coverage of religious life in Ukraine in periodicals. Underlining the social necessity of reporting objective, accurate information on the activity of the churches, the participants expressed hope that the new project of UNIAN will execute such a task.   “Indisputably, there must be an accurate resource, which would present information about religious life free from lobbyism, tendentiousness, and propaganda,” remarked the press secretary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP) Bishop Evstratiy (Zorya).  The press secretary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church proto-priest Heorhiy Kovalenko expressed that he expects that the new project will impartially and objectively report on religious life. In the opinion of the representative of the UOC, it is “necessary to enable every confession to display itself.” At the same time he believes discussion and polemic must be present as part of the new project. “If you report the truth, then the truth will set you free,” informed the assistant of the leader of the Department of Information of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church priest Oleh Panchynyak. The representative of the Ukrainian Association of Religious Freedom, Victor Elenskiy, underlined that religious subjects must appear on the pages of the mass media just as thoroughly and professionally as other important social questions, in fact, he stated that a “social palette will be incomplete without information about religious life.” The representative of the Kyiv Judaic religious community Inna Ioffe expressed a similar sentiment. Although in many speeches it was noted that the level of coverage of religious subjects has risen in the past several years, the participants of the round table noted the tendentiousness present in a large part of the media. In particular, Father Oleksiy Samsonov (Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine) noticed that church themes are often used to influence the resolution of political questions. The executive director of the civil organization Institute of Religious Freedom, Maksym Vasin, noted that quite often information about religious life is given incomplete, without context, and that most journalists who write about religious subjects have little knowledge of the area. Besides, according to the director of the Religious Information Services in Ukraine, Taras Antoshevskyj, there is a lack of professional experts who would be able to impartially report on these important and sensitive societal questions at a high level. During his report, the representative of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine, Rustam Gafuri, warned against displays of racism and chauvinism in materials about religious subjects. About the imbalance in covering religious subjects in the secular media the editor-in-chief of the portal “Religion in Ukraine” Alla Dmytruk, commented that instead of permanent, competent, and cognitive reportage of church life, religious themes are typically only reported on before religious holidays or other similar events. In the opinion of the head of the Department of Religious Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Anatoliy Kolodnyj, all confessions in the country have to work on building an independent, sovereign Ukraine. In closing, the moderator of the round table, the assistant editor-in-chief of the agency UNIAN Volodymyr Il'chenko, thanked those present for thorough speeches and promised that on the web-site of “UNIAN Religion” all basic confessions operating in Ukraine will be represented, and preference will be given to cognitive and explicit materials. www.unian.net/ukr/news/news-322602.html Translated by the Information Department of the UGCC
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