Reuters removes TASS Russian news agency from its content marketplace

The Thomson Reuters logo is seen on the company building in Times Square, New York.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

Reuters has removed TASS from its business-to-business marketplace for customers, according to a Reuters message to staff on Wednesday, amid growing criticism of how Russia’s state-owned news agency is portraying the war in Ukraine.

“We believe making TASS content available on Reuters Connect is not aligned with the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles,” Matthew Keen, interim CEO of Reuters, wrote in an internal memo to staff on Wednesday.

The Reuters Trust Principles, created in 1941 amid World War Two, commits Reuters to act with integrity, independence and freedom from bias.

TASS declined to make immediate comment.

The Russian news agency has been accused by some Western media and press freedom groups of spreading false claims and propaganda about the war in Ukraine.

Since the invasion, tech giants Google, Facebook and Twitter and pay TV services have restricted access to Russia state-owned media RT and Sputnik over concerns about spreading misinformation. RT and Sputnik have called restrictions placed on them by distributors, which include app stores and other social media services, unjustified censorship.

Early in March, photo agency Getty Images cut ties with TASS, according to a Forbes report. The report quoted a Getty spokesman saying that “in order to ensure the integrity of the content we distribute, we require that partners and contributors comply.” The Forbes story said TASS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reuters Connect allowed users, mostly news organizations, to access and share TASS content for a fee. Reuters Connect also offers the content of Reuters News and about 90 third-party providers, including Variety, USA Today and CNBC.

The Reuters newsroom operates independently of Reuters Connect.

The TASS partnership with the Reuters Connect platform was struck in 2020. In a June 1 press release that year, Michael Friedenberg, then president of Reuters, said having TASS join Reuters Connect was “building upon our valued partnership.” Sergei Mikhailov, TASS CEO, called the agreement “truly a significant event.”

According to the press release, the TASS partnership with Reuters Connect offered customers “access to breaking news and exclusive video; videos on the Kremlin and Russian President, Vladimir Putin, as well as feature videos and general news.”

Since the invasion, the partnership has sparked sharp criticism on social media. A Politico story published on March 20 cited unnamed Reuters journalists saying they were embarrassed by the company’s partnership with TASS.

Reuters is owned by news and information company Thomson Reuters.






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