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The Press Monitoring Report Finds an Increase in Manipulation Techniques over the First Three Months of the Year

16 April 2019
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Mixture of facts and opinions and lack of the right to reply are among most frequent deviations from the Journalist Code of Ethics, listed in the ‘Elements of Propaganda, Information Manipulation, and Violation of Journalism Ethics in the Local Media’ Monitoring Report. The document was launched by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) on Tuesday, 16 April, and covers the monitoring period from 1 January to 31 March 2019.
While presenting the report, the IJC Executive Director Nadine Gogu drew attention to the fact that the number of deviations from deontological norms and manipulation techniques increased in the first three months of the year. The media expert explains this by the coincidence of the monitoring period with the election campaign for the parliamentary elections. ‘As we already have seen in several campaigns, each electoral campaign triggers manipulation through the media, and our reports in the current electoral campaign proved this once again’, emphasised Nadine Gogu.
The report author, media researcher Victor Gotisan, specified that the total of five subjects of public interest were monitored – political leaders’ declarations of property; start of the election campaign for the parliamentary elections; preliminary results of the parliamentary elections; pension indexation and Easter social aids promised by Vlad Plahotniuc; the first sitting of the newly elected Parliament.

According to Victor Gotisan, the main elements and techniques of manipulation used by some media outlets were as follows: suggestion, omission, blurring, enemy technique, priority information technique, the national rescuer (Messiah) technique/myth, manipulation by means of video and/or audio, negative image transfer. He also identified the following deontological mistakes: selective presentation/truncation of facts, opinions and statements, lack of the right to reply, mixture of facts and opinions, references to sources that cannot be checked, spreading false information or statements, generalization, irony, labeling. ‘During this monitoring period many media outlets reportedly took information from other media outlets and did not check whether such information was correct and whether it had any deontological deviations and manipulation techniques. We believe that they are as guilty for distributing this message’, added Victor Gotisan.

The report finds that media outlets continue to cover the events of public interest through the prism of political preferences and comes with some recommendations: The Broadcasting Council should take note of the findings and monitor TV channels that commit violations; the media editors are urged to oversee editorial content; journalists are encouraged to verify the validity and accuracy of the information taken; the reporters are encouraged to report all relevant facts in an unbiased manner and after verifying information, not selectively or unilaterally; media consumers are advised to seek information in several media sources.
The report will be sent to the monitored media outlets and to the Broadcasting Council. IJC draws up such reports every three months. TV channels Moldova 1, Prime TV, Channel 3, Accent TV, NTV Moldova, Central Television (Orhei), Jurnal TV, TV8, PRO TV Chisinau, as well as the online portals Sputnik.md, Kp.md and Unimedia.info were monitored during the reference period.