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IJC Launched the First Report on Mass-Media Monitoring in the Current Election Campaign. Find out the Trends Noticed by the Monitors and Their Expectations from the BC

03 October 2019
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Most of the election materials broadcast by the ten TV channels monitored by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) during 20-27 September, under the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections, were fair and impartial, presenting the protagonists from a neutral point of view. However, much of the news on this topic was limited to a single source and did not address the topics in depth. These are the conclusions of the Report ‘Monitoring the Mass-media in the Election Campaign for the Local General Elections of 20 October 2019 and for the New Parliamentary Elections in the Single-Member Constituencies Nos 17, 33, 48, and 50’, launched on Thursday, 3 October, in Chisinau.
Nadine Gogu, IJC Executive Director, mentioned that the entire content of the main daily newscasts on every broadcaster was monitored during this period, as part of which the materials with direct and indirect electoral character were analysed. A total of 10 broadcasters were monitored: Moldova 1, Prime TV, Publika TV, Jurnal TV, NTV Moldova, RTR Moldova, TV 8, Pro TV, Accent TV and Central Television.
The monitoring covered different aspects: whether the principles of impartiality and objectivity were respected; whether the channels involved or not in political partisanship; the accuracy and balance of the opinion sources/pluralism; the language and images used. Nadine Gogu specified that there were cases when the journalistic texts were neutral, but the images accompanying the materials presented the protagonists in a negative light.
During this period, a qualitative monitoring methodology was used, as opposed to the quantitative one in the previous election campaign.
Asked by journalists about the trends in media behaviour in the current election campaign, compared to the previous one, Nadine Gogu noted a certain improvement of the situation. ‘We cannot do a classic comparison, since we used another methodology in spring. In general, however, we can say that most broadcasters or TV channels reflected fairly and impartially the election campaign, without clearly favoring or disfavouring a certain election candidate. In the spring campaign it was very clear which channel supported which candidate. Now things have changed. We will see what will happen in the coming weeks of the campaign’, answered Nadine Gogu.
According to the Report, the public broadcaster Moldova 1 had a fair behaviour during the first week of the monitoring and granted access to news to most of the election candidates, without favouring or disfavouring any of them. Pro TV and TV 8 had a similar behaviour.
However, certain TV channels affiliated with politicians chose to act as in the previous campaigns. The Central Television, for instance, favoured the representatives of ‘Sor’ Political Party, slightly disfavouring Ion Ceban (PSRM) and Andrei Nastase (ACUM/PAS/PPDA).
NTV Moldova and Accent TV promoted massively Ion Ceban, by the air time granted and the positive context, disfavoring his rival Andrei Nastase.
Though they did not favour massively a certain election candidate, the national broadcasters Prime TV and Publika TV disfavoured the candidate of ACUM/PAS/PPDA Block, Andrei Nastase, by selecting a negative context for the news that targeted him.
RTR Moldova slightly favoured the PSRM candidate Ion Ceban, and Jurnal TV granted air time to all the candidates who carried out campaign activities, being observed, as well, a slight favouring of the candidate of ACUM/PAS/PPDA Block, Andrei Nastase.
IJC is to develop a total of 4 monitoring reports during 20 September – 19 October 2019. They are to be sent to the Broadcasting Council to take action and sanction the channels that committed violations in the election campaign.