New Zealand’s state broadcaster has launched an investigation after it was found that some stories about the Ukraine and Russia war were edited to reflect the “pro-Russian view”.
Local media reported that the state-funded Radio New Zealand [RNZ] published at least four articles attributed to the Reuters wire service that had been edited “inappropriately” to add the pro-Kremlin tone.
“RNZ is investigating how a story on the Ukraine conflict on its website was changed to reflect a pro-Russian view,” the broadcaster said on Friday.
“The version published by RNZ included a false account of the events. The story has since been corrected,” it added.
At least four wire articles published by RNZ had been edited to add pro-Kremlin phrasing.
“RNZ is concerned and takes this matter extremely seriously,” it said in a statement.
“We are investigating and have taken appropriate action.”
In one article that was edited, a paragraph was added that read: “The Kremlin also said its invasion was sparked by a failure to implement the Minsk agreement peace accords, designed to give Russia speakers autonomy and protection, and the rise of a neo-Nazi element in Ukraine since a coup ousted a Russian-friendly Ukrainian government in 2014.”
Another added that Russia launched its invasion “claiming that a US-backed coup in 2014 with the help of neo-Nazis had created a threat to its borders and had ignited a civil war that saw Russian-speaking minorities persecuted”.
The broadcaster said an employee had been placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Megan Whelan, the head of content at RNZ told the Guardian: “RNZ is aware of instances of inappropriate editing of several wire service stories relating to the war in Ukraine published on our website. An investigation is underway into the alleged conduct of one employee. The employee has been placed on leave while we look into these matters.”
She added: “We have corrected the stories and added an explanatory note to each article. We are auditing other articles to check whether there are further problems. We will release the outcome of the audit when it is completed.”
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