TASS Russian News Agency is surprised at the US media’s reaction to the photo report about the May 10 meeting in Washington D.C. between US President Donald Trump and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov published by the agency. TASS believes such bias that US journalists have demonstrated in regards to their Russian colleagues, fulfilling their professional duties, is unacceptable.
Alexandr Scherbak is a staff photographer with TASS and in this role he often accompanies Foreign Minister Lavrov on his international trips, while also acting as a personal photographer for Mr. Lavrov. The Russian Foreign Ministry informed the US prior to the visit that TASS photographer Alexandr Scherbak would be acting as the Foreign Minister’s personal photographer during the visit.
Aspects of the meeting’s media coverage were agreed upon by Washington. No limitations were imposed by the US side on the publication of photographic materials from the meeting, neither before, nor during the course of the photographer’s work.
The protocol photo-op carried out by Alexandr Scherbak of the beginning of the meeting between US President Trump and Foreign Minister Lavrov lasted two minutes. These materials were published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website and social media accounts, as well as on the website of the TASS Photo Agency and were made available to all of the agency’s clients. This is standard practice in the relationship between TASS and the Foreign Ministry’s press service in cases when only one photographer is present during an event, when the photographic materials are of significant public importance.
The photo-op was also carried out by an official White House photographer.
TASS Russian News Agency would like to emphasize that it is an official state news agency financed by the Russian government. Media coverage of activities relating to federal ministries and agencies, and their heads has been one of TASS’ key functions throughout the many years of its service.
TASS has a vast subscriber base which includes Russian and foreign media, federal and regional government bodies, diplomatic representatives, players in business and finance, civil organizations and many others.
It is important to note that TASS, like every other media company, often uses materials and information produced by US and other international media. Photographic materials by foreign media are used not only to illustrate events happening in other countries, but also for coverage of events in Russia. TASS never focuses its readers’ attention on the fact that materials from any foreign media were used in the coverage of a story. TASS editors believe the grounds for publishing foreign media’s materials should be based on criteria of professionalism, exclusiveness and quality, and not the national origin of the media in question.
TASS is calling on Russian and international journalists to provide their evaluation of statements in the US press concerning the work of TASS photographer Alexandr Scherbak.