RIA Novosti: Zero tolerance on brand misuse to spread lies in Turkish media

RIA Novosti’s lawyers are investigating the apparent illegal use of the leading Russian multimedia news agency’s brand to spread false information. A number of Turkish media outlets have published the results of an opinion poll ahead of the parliamentary election to be held in Turkey on June 12. The opinion poll was apparently conducted by RIJA-SAM, an international public opinion research consortium, that claimed to have RIA Novosti’s backing.

“We are looking into the legal aspects of this case,” said RIA Novosti First Deputy Editor-in-Chief Maxim Filimonov, “since this misuse of RIA Novosti’s brand discredits the agency.” Mr. Filimonov states that the agency views identifying those behind the fake poll as a matter of principle.

“The authors not only took the liberty of disseminating a provocative message in RIA Novosti’s name but also used the brand and the infographic format that has become the agency’s hallmark,” Mr. Filimonov added.

A German-based website politikcity.de, which claims to be Europe’s largest Turkish online forum, first covered the opinion poll, apparently held with the participation of RIA Novosti and involving 50,000 respondents in Turkey, in early May. Information then spread through other online media outlets in Turkey as well as popular social networking sites, such as Facebook.

It was the opinion poll’s results that proved so contentious in Turkey. It predicted that the Republican People’s Party, Turkey’s leading opposition party, would sweep to victory. All other opinion polls indicate that the ruling Justice and Development Party led by the country’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will win.

According to Mikhail Safronov, RIA Novosti’s deputy director general and head of the legal directorate, the public dissemination of this information accompanied by the use of Russia’s leading news and information agency’s brand “misleads the public as to the information’s source and thus credibility, in so doing damaging RIA Novosti’s professional reputation.”

“RIA Novosti will not tolerate any attempts at the unlawful use of its brand for commercial, political or any other purposes and will use all available means to prosecute the perpetrators, including judicial protection of the agency’s professional reputation and trademarks,” Mr. Safronov said.

MOSCOW, May 23 (RIA Novosti)

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