The Independent Journalism Center releases the results of the second phase of Media Monitoring of the Election Campaign for the Early Parliamentary Elections of November 28, 2010

The Independent Journalism Center, as part of the Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections, releases the results of the second phase of monitoring the manner in which the major media in Moldova have reflected the campaign for the early parliamentary elections.

General conclusions

Radio/TV stations: Between October 11 – October 24, 2010, the 10 monitored radio and TV stations broadcasted a rather large amount of materials with direct and indirect electoral impact. Most of the materials were news and opinion programs, where the representatives of various political parties appeared as directly or indirectly quoted sources. Also, the media broadcasted electoral advertizing and special electoral programs, with some airtime offered free of charge by public stations.

Public stations Moldova 1 and Radio Moldova provided access to several candidates, and the most often quoted were the representatives of the parties that form the Alliance for European Integration. The majority of the relevant topics were presented neutrally; candidates mostly appeared in either positive or negative light, according to the topic being covered. The monitoring results allow us to claim that the public stations are slightly favoring the ruling parties, a fact conveyed by the frequency of their appearance as sources.

One of the private stations with national coverage, Prime TV, mostly reflected topics with direct electoral implication. Materials broadcasted by this station presented members of both the AEI and the PCRM, chiefly in a neutral context. As for the frequency of the canidates’ appearances on Prime TV, we find that the station to some extent favored the competing Democratic Party of Moldova.

Another private station with national coverage, NIT, continued with openly partisan behavior in favor of the PCRM. NIT presented this candidate in mostly a positive light and launched a campaign to support the President of the party. The ruling alliance, and its component parties, were mostly criticized and presented unfavorably, while the extraparliamentary parties and independent candidates had limited access to this TV station.

2 Plus, yet another station with national coverage, has been rather passive in this period, providing the public with only brief information about the electoral campaign. This station, like N4 (a station with regional coverage), had no opinion programs discussing the elections. N4, however, was more active in reflecting such topics in its news programs. This station provided a relative pluralism of opinions, although most access was provided to representatives of the Liberal Democrat Party of Moldova and of the PCRM.

News stations Publika TV and Jurnal TV actively reflected events with electoral implications during the monitored period. Electoral competitors were mostly presented neutrally, but also positively and negatively, depending on the reflected topics. Judging by the quoted sources and the frequency of positively and negatively presented news items, Jurnal TV showed a slight tendency towards favoring the LDPM and the Liberal Party and disapproving of the PCRM. Publika showed no evident tendency towards favoring any of the competitors.

Vocea Basarabiei, a private radio station, actively reflected issues with direct and indirect electoral character, especially in news, opinion and special electoral programs, while Prime FM limited itself to mostly news programs. Vocea Basarabiei tended to disapprove of the PCRM, especially in opinion items, and to favor the AEI, whereas Prime FM slightly favored the Democrat Party of Moldova.

Print Media/News Agencies/Web Portals. Print media, including news agencies and web portals, continued to actively publicize the electoral campaign for the early parliamentary elections of 28 November 2010. The monitored period saw an increase in the number of articles about the electoral process and of materials aimed at the electoral education of citizens, but their number remained insufficient. The amount of political and electoral advertizing during this period was four times as large as during the first monitoring period.

Newspapers Moldova Suverană, Nezavisimaia Moldova and the news website continued to intensely favor the PCRM and to disapprove of the Alliance for European Integration (AEI) in general, and the Liberal Democrat Party of Moldova and the Liberal Party in particular. Some materials still displayed semi-indecent and derogatory expressions against the political opponents of the PCRM, and articles containing accusations did not allow for the opinions of the accused to be expressed.

Timpul de dimineaţă, Jurnal de Chişinău, Panorama and presented the PCRM in mostly a negative context or criticized this electoral competitor. At the same time, AEI as the ruling alliance was sometimes disapproved of, while at other times it appeared in a favorable light. Timpul de dimineaţă, as well as Unimedia, favored the LDPM. The Moldpres news agency presented the AEI and its component parties in mostly a positive context, whereas the PCRM was presented mostly negatively in the news by this agency.

The Flux newspaper presented negatively all the main electoral competitors, rather favoring the Christian Democratic People’s Party. The editorial policy of other monitored media institutions showed a somewhat criticizing attitude towards all electoral competitors without tendencies of directly favoring any of them.

The project “Monitoring mass media during the electoral campaign” is implemented in partnership with the Independent Press Association and the Institute for Marketing and Polls IMAS-INC Chisinau. The monitoring period is September 28 to November 28, 2010. The results will be published in bimonthly reports, in the first month of the monitoring, then in weekly reports.

The project is funded by the Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Moldova, by the Council of Europe and by the East-European Foundation, with funds provided by the Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Eurasia Foundation.

Also, the elaboration of this report was possible due to the generous help of the American people, offered through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) within the Moldova Civil Society Strengthening Program (MCSSP) by the Academy for Educational Development (AED).

The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of donors.