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Results on Monitoring of Media Coverage of the 2009 Parliamentary Elections Campaign PDF Print E-mail

09.03.09/ The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) and the Association of Independent Press (API) have released, within the Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections - Coalition 2009, the results of the third monitoring report (5-11 March 2009) assessing the media coverage of the campaign for parliamentary elections in Moldova.

General Conclusions

Trends of favoring or disfavoring certain candidates while covering the election campaign by the 24 outlets monitored were maintained during the 5-11 March period. Also, an increase in the number of materials tackling the elections was registered, accounting for 3024 items per week. Most of the pieces (2508) were broadcast by the 8 radio/TV media monitored.

Broadcast media

The public media outlets with national coverage—Moldova 1 and Radio Moldova—continued to cover mainly the ruling party, broadcasting a large number of news items reporting on its initiatives and electoral activities. The access of the rest of the electoral candidates to the public broadcasters was much more limited. At times, the coverage of opposition parties aimed at discrediting them rather than informing the voters about them. NIT and Antena C pursued a similar editorial policy, the difference being that it was more obvious that some opposition parties were disfavored. 

EU TV continued to discredit some opposition parties both in news and opinion programs and slightly favor the Christian Democratic Peoples’ Party (PPCD) whereas the approach towards the ruling party was more balanced, the latter being presented more in a positive than in a negative light. 

On the other hand, PRO TV, TV7 and Vocea Basarabiei continued to provide a pluralist, balanced reporting of events without showing obvious preference for any candidate. Although these media outlets presented PCRM in more unfavorable reports than in favorable ones, the information was not distorted as was the case in the other media outlets monitored. Vocea Basarabiei continued to criticize the ruling party on opinion programs.

Print press/press agencies/online publications

During this period, the commitment of the editorial policy of some media outlets to certain candidates became more obvious. Moldova Suverană, Nezavisimaia Moldova, Moldpres news agency and the online publication www.omg.md (OMEGA multimedia news agency) openly favored PCRM presenting it in only a positive context in news and opinion items. At the same time, these media outlets harshly criticized other electoral candidates or presented them in an unfavorable context. Komsomolskaia Pravda v Moldove did not offer much coverage of the election campaign and presented the ruling party in only a positive light. The articles published in Flux openly favored PPCD and disfavored opposition party leaders. 

A clear tendency to disfavor PCRM was registered at Jurnal de Chişinău, Timpul de Dimineaţă, Moldavskie Vedomosti and www.unimedia.md. These outlets promoted other candidates, especially the liberal ones. The rest of the media monitored did not directly favor or disfavor any candidate during the monitoring period and either tried to provide more or less balanced coverage of the election campaign or avoided offering too many details.  

The monitoring methodology has been developed by Oxford Media Research for the monitoring projects of the international organization Global Campaign for Free Expression ARTICLE 19. The characteristics of the methodology are the following 1) a broad spectrum of quantity indicators is used including type, duration, topic of coverage, news sources and frequency and duration of appearance of certain persons in newscasts. 2) the quality component is more developed than in other methodologies and can detect biased reporting during the coverage of events. Each news article or opinion is subject to a content and context assessment to determine if it favors or disfavors a party or a political entity.

***

The project is being implemented in partnership with IMAS-INC Institute for Marketing and Survey, Chişinău. Monitoring time frame 5 February – 5 April 2009. The results will be released bimonthly during the first monitoring period, and afterwards - weekly. 

The project “Monitoring mass media during the campaign for parliamentary elections 2009” is funded by the Eurasia Foundation through the Swedish Agency for Development and International Cooperation (Sida/Asdi) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the donors.

The 2009 Coalition is a voluntary union of Moldovan NGOs aiming to secure free, fair, transparent and democratic 2009 parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova, and continues to promote activities for free and fair elections started by the 2005 and 2007 Coalitions. The current 2009 Coalition comprises more than 60 NGOs. 

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