Fake: pensions of Ukrainian prosecutors are higher than those of their European counterparts
As ordinary Owls, our mission is to debunk dubious information whenever we see it. However, we’re deviating from our usual course this time. This report serves as a homework assignment for journalists, so please read to the end - you might recognize yourself within its context.
So, what’s the subject at hand? You may have come across the claim that “Ukrainian prosecutors receive higher pensions than their European counterparts.” However, there’s a significant issue with this news - it lacks any supporting evidence. In essence, it’s an empty assertion.
Numerous media outlets have disseminated articles on this matter, including Channel 24, NV weekly, glavred.net , volynnews, rivne1.tv, fakty.ua, etc. The pattern was consistent: one outlet published it, and the others mindlessly reposted it. The original source of this information was apostrophe.ua.
The journalists inquired with the Pension Fund of Ukraine regarding the pensions received by Ukrainian prosecutors. The fund provided a response, and we don’t question the authenticity of these figures. However, the journalists also made a comparison between these payments and those of European prosecutors.
“The pensions of Ukrainian prosecutors are significantly more modest in comparison to European ones.”
Poland - 450 euros
Latvia - 300 euros
Bulgaria - 130 euros
Estonia - 230 euros
Romania - 175 euros
Lithuania - 220 euros
According to the news article, the pensions of Ukrainian prosecutors can only be compared to those of their counterparts in the UK. The article states that they receive 900 euros, out of which 20% is allocated for taxes.
Doesn’t something seem strange? We share the same sentiment - these pensions are exceptionally small. This is particularly surprising considering that, for instance, in Poland, the lowest pension since March 1, 2023, amounts to 1588.44 zloty gross. In other words, it seems that the prosecutor’s pension is only 514 zlotys higher than the “minimum pension” (depending on the exchange rate, as the amounts are mentioned in euros by Apostrophe).
We searched numerous Polish websites in pursuit of the required information. The data concerning prosecutors’ salaries shows significant variations. However, even if we consider the lowest figure and assume that the pension amounts to half of it, the resulting amount still surpasses what Ukrainian journalists assert.
Moreover, it’s important to note that the previous comparison only pertains to Poland, but the text mentions five other countries as well. Each of these countries would require meticulous research and verification, without any guarantee of success. Consider this: in order to obtain the pension amount for a Ukrainian prosecutor, the news outlet had to submit an official request to the Pension Fund. This implies that the information was not readily available to the public. Therefore, is such data publicly accessible for the other countries mentioned?
Now, let’s consider the most intriguing aspect. Tired of searching, we decided to directly ask the author where she obtained the data regarding the pensions of European prosecutors. In response, she stated that the editor-in-chief had provided her with the information, so she was unaware of its sources. Additionally, the journalist mentioned that “due to her dismissal, she was unable to inquire further”.
We then reached out directly to Denys Popovych, the editor-in-chief of Apostrophe. He assured us that “the author has made a huge mistake”.
“She (the author) compared it to an average pension, but it’s unclear in which countries. And she described it as a prosecutor’s pension, which is incorrect. This means a fine and dismissal.” He thanked us “for the tip” and promised to rectify the article.
The fact that Popovych acknowledged the mistake in the editorial work is a positive sign. It demonstrates that the lesson has been learned, as anyone can make a mistake.
But there’s a catch
We don’t know the reason for the author’s dismissal, as she informed about it prior to our contact with Popovych regarding the issue. It’s possible that her departure was a coincidence and she left of her own accord. However, this raises the question of whom the editor-in-chief intended to penalize and dismiss.
Alternatively, it’s possible that the editorial staff had already detected the error before our intervention and took appropriate disciplinary action. If that’s the case, then the question remains as to why the article containing false statements was only recently updated.
Interestingly, there’s no mention in the news itself that it was edited. The evidence has been discreetly concealed. The current headline reads: “Higher than the average in Europe: amount of prosecutors’ pensions in Ukraine revealed.”
Moreover, instead of stating “Compared to the pensions of European prosecutors”, it now simply reads “Compared to the pensions of Europeans”.
It appears that the media outlets referencing Apostrophe are now the sole sources of inaccurate (?) information. If readers compare them to the original source, they will discover that the reprint was nothing but a lie.
This is a prime example of the consequences that arise when journalists simply copy from one another without verifying facts. And of course, they rely on the integrity of their colleagues.
In conclusion, we present the promised homework assignment to all the people involved in this report. Since you’ve already disseminated this news, we urge you to follow up on it. Determine the actual pensions of European prosecutors and ensure that you provide the sources from which you obtained this information.
As for our dear readers, we kindly request your assistance in monitoring the progress of this task. -) As always, we thank you for your likes and shares!