Amid the growing criticism of how TASS is portraying the war in Ukraine, Reuters decided on Wednesday to remove Russia’s state-owned news agency from its B2B marketplace for customers.
Reuters Connect, which operates independently of Reuters newsroom, allowed users, mostly news organizations, to access and share TASS content for a fee after striking a partnership with the Russian agency in 2020.
That partnership has sparked sharp criticism on social media since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with unnamed Reuters journalists saying they were embarrassed by it.
Reuters interim CEO Matthew Keen wrote to staff in an internal memo on Wednesday that TASS content availability on Reuters Connect is not aligned with the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Created in 1941 amid World War Two, the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles commit the agency to act with integrity, independence, and freedom from bias.
TASS CEO Sergei Mikhailov said in a letter to Keen, which was later shared with Reuters, that he understood the agency’s decision is influenced by the current world atmosphere but has nevertheless emphasized how sorry it is.
Mikhailov has stressed that TASS journalists conduct their work honestly and responsibly and the agency’s informational work is equitable, objective, and sufficiently balanced, leaving no room for disinformation and propaganda fakes.
After some Western media and press freedom groups accused TASS of spreading false claims and propaganda about the war in Ukraine, photo agency Getty Images has ended its partnership with TASS earlier this month citing alleged violation of editorial policy they require all partners and contributors to comply with in order to ensure the integrity of the content they distribute.
A Getty Images spokesperson explained that recent TASS content failed to meet those guidelines, so the agency was notified of the breach of the agreement and the termination of the relationship.
She declined to specify which content fell short of its guidelines, adding only that the company will remove all TASS content after the agreement is officially ended.