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Reuters dumps TASS

Reuters said it had decided to remove all content by TASS from its business-to-business platform amid growing criticism of how Russia's state-owned news agency is portraying the war in Ukraine.

“We believe making TASS content on Reuters Connect is not aligned with the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles,” interim president Matthew Keen told staff in a note.


Editorial staff were unhappy with the association with TASS, which was founded in the communist era of the Soviet Union.


Since Russia invaded Ukraine the partnership has sparked sharp criticism on social media. A Politico article over the weekend cited unnamed Reuters journalists saying they were embarrassed by the company's partnership with TASS.


Reuters Connect will continue to offer all Reuters news.


“Additionally, clearly labelled content from more than 90 third-party providers remains available for news professionals, who will continue to make their own editorial judgments on what is useful to them,” Keen said.


He noted that "Reuters newsroom operates independently of any Reuters Connect marketplace agreements."


Reuters Connect describes itself as “the most comprehensive digital platform powering the news ecosystem. Media organisations whose content appears on it include the BBC and USA Today.


Reuters then president Michael Friedenberg called it a “valued partnership” when he announced the tie-up in June 2020. Hostile comment followed. 


Friedenberg left the company at the end of December after three years in the job. Keen, the agency’s chief financial officer and head of finance transformation at Reuters owner Thomson Reuters, took on his responsibilities while a new president is sought.


Former Moscow bureau chief Bob Evans said that since the Russian invasion TASS text and video reporting on president Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” has been “little more than a platform for the Kremlin's carefully-controlled campaign of untruths and misinformation around the conflict.”


He asked on The Baron “why the company was welcoming to its bosom an agency that over years had vilified Reuters journalists in the Soviet Union as ‘vicious slanderers’, ‘hired hacks of the capitalists’ and the like.” ■