The Independent Journalism Center releases the results of the third 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 third 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 25 – October 31, 2010, the 10 monitored radio and TV stations actively reflected the electoral campaign, broadcasting a total of 1,965 materials with direct or indirect electoral impact. The great majority of the stations managed to provide pluralism of opinions in the materials relevant to this monitoring.

Thus, public stations Moldova 1 and Radio Moldova continued to provide access, in news and other programs, to several candidates, including those representing extraparliamentary parties and independent candidates. The Interim President and the Prime-Minister were quoted as sources with markedly less frequency  in materials with indirect electoral impact. In most cases the relevant topics were presented neutrally, with  some electoral competitors appearing in either a positive or negative light.

One of the private stations with national coverage, Prime TV, mostly reflected topics with direct electoral implication, providing access to several competitors. This station’s materials most often quoted the representatives of the PCRM, mainly in a negative context. Of the members of the Alliance for European Integration, the relevant materials introduced representatives of the Our Moldova Alliance, the Liberal Party and the Democratic Party, mainly in neutral and/or positive context.

Another private station, NIT, continued campaigning for the President of the PCRM, demonstrating openly partisan behavior in favor of this candidate. The PCRM dominated both news items and programs, and was  mainly portrayed in a positive light. NIT failed to provide pluralism of opinions, with extraparliamentary parties and independent candidates having limited access to this TV station with national coverage.

2 Plus, yet another station with national coverage, continued to passively reflect the campaign, providing the public with only brief information about the candidates and their electoral platforms. Thus, this station did not fully accomplish its role of informing the public about various candidates. N4, a station with regional coverage, more actively reflected electoral topics in its news programs. N4 provided a relative pluralism of opinions, offering access to several electoral competitors, including independent candidates.

News stations Publika TV and Jurnal TV continued to actively reflect events with electoral implications during the monitored period, broadcasting various news items that presented a large number of electoral competitors, as well as many opinion programs that discussed the topic of elections. During the monitored period these two stations did not show any evident tendency towards favoring any of the competitors. Judging by the frequency of positive and negative portrayals of competitors, Jurnal TV and Publika TV slightly disapprove of the PCRM.

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 mostly to news programs. Both stations showed disapproval of the PCRM, and Vocea Basarabiei favored the Liberal Party, the Liberal Democratic Party and the Our Moldova Alliance.

3.2 Print Media/News Agencies/Web Portals: Newspapers reflected the electoral campaign more in opinion articles than in news items, which denotes a tendency towards filling the publication with opinions about candidates and comments regarding their actions, and not with objectively presented facts and events. The amount of electoral advertizing in newspapers increased, while the number of articles on electoral education still remains low.

During the monitored period, the division of media outlets according to the electoral preferences of editors and journalists continued. Thus, several outlets (, newspapers Nezavisimaia Moldova, Moldova Suverană) had a biased editorial approach, on the one hand aimed at promoting the PCRM, and on the other hand – at denigrating the political opponents of the PCRM. In some cases, the materials selected for publication by these media outlets were  speculative; they distorted the facts and did not provide the right to reply.

Newspapers Timpul de dimineaţă and Jurnal de Chişinău either criticized the PCRM or presented it in a primarily negative context. Non-communist electoral competitors, especially the Liberal Democratic Party and the Liberal Party, were favored particularly in opinion articles. The information portal disapproved of the PCRM and presented non-communist parties, especially those liberally oriented, in mainly a positive context.

The Flux newspaper criticized all electoral competitors except the Christian Democratic People’s Party, which was favored both in news items and opinion articles. Newspapers Evenimentul Zilei and Panorama, also had a mainly critical  editorial approach towards most of the electoral competitors. Both publications mainly disapproved of the PCRM, while Evenimentul Zilei also disapproved of the LP and the LDPM, with no tendencies towards favoring any other candidate.

Local independent newspapers, Cuvântul and Gazeta de Sud, published mostly neutral news items, while their opinion articles presented the PCRM more negatively than positively, denoting slight tendencies towards favoring the LDPM. Local public newspapers, Vesti Gagauzii and Golos Bălţi seemed to have withdrawn themselves  from reflecting the electoral campaign, and publishing no articles on this issue during the reported week, except for advertizing from electoral competitors. Komsomolskaia pravda v Moldove was also less involved in reflecting the campaign, providing readers with brief information in exchange for large amounts of electoral advertizing. The few opinion articles published by this newspaper denoted a slight tendency towards favoring the PCRM.

The Moldpres news agency favored the ruling alliance, while the Infotag agency maintained a relative impartiality regarding the Alliance for European Integration, presenting electoral competitors both in a positive and negative light, but placing PCRM in a predominantly disadvantaged context.

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, this report is made possible with the generous support of the American people,  through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under AED`s Moldova Civil Society Strengthening Program (MCSSP). The views expressed are  the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of donors.