The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) launched its second media monitoring report on Wednesday, October 25, covering the media coverage of the general local elections campaign on November 5, 2023. The new report encompassed the period from October 12 to October 23, with IJC continuing to monitor the main news bulletins of ten television stations: Moldova 1, TVR Moldova, Jurnal TV, Pro TV Chișinău, TV8, Cinema 1, ITV Moldova, Orizont TV, Vocea Basarabiei TV, and Exclusiv TV.
The television stations were selected based on criteria such as audience and impact, public or private ownership, and the language of broadcast (Romanian or Russian). IJC analyzed the entire content of the main daily news bulletins from these ten TV stations, assessing materials with both direct and indirect electoral content. The materials were subjected to content and context evaluations to determine whether they were favorable or unfavorable to any particular electoral candidate.
“Some of the monitored stations provided relatively equal access to the election candidates, who were protagonists in separate news or were mentioned in news with direct or indirect electoral content, while another part displayed preferential attitudes toward certain candidates. Most of the time, electoral topics were based on a single source of information, without ensuring diversity of opinion and without delving deep into the subjects,” stated Nadine Gogu, the executive director of the Independent Journalism Center, during the press conference where the conclusions of the second monitoring report were presented.
Therefore, during the period from October 12 to October 23, the following general trends were recorded:
- Moldova 1 extensively covered the electoral campaign, offering equal access to multiple electoral candidates without favoring or disfavoring any of them. Most of the news adhered to professional standards, being fair and impartial.
- TVR Moldova provided airtime for the majority of electoral contestants, portraying them in a balanced and non-partisan manner. The central public administration was predominantly portrayed in positive news, subtly favoring the PAS representatives, thus creating a positive image transfer.
- Jurnal TV objectively and impartially covered campaign events, presenting the activities of the majority of electoral contestants in a balanced manner. The MAN candidate, Ion Ceban, was disfavored through multiple negative materials about the municipality’s activities, while representatives of the ruling party were favored by the positive context of the news related to the central public administration.
- Pro TV Chișinău neutrally and impartially covered the electoral campaign, offering equal access to the majority of electoral contestants. Ion Ceban was slightly disfavored by the negative tone in which he was portrayed in the news.
- TV8 provided a brief and neutral overview of the electoral campaign, offering limited coverage of electoral contestants in the news. The station did not clearly favor or disfavor any electoral contestants.
- Cinema 1 allocated airtime for the majority of electoral contestants, slightly favoring the PAS team and its mayoral candidate, Lilian Carp, and the MAN candidate, Ion Ceban, through a relatively large number of materials. Ten materials with a positive connotation favored the central public administration and, consequently, the ruling party.
- ITV Moldova clearly disfavored Ion Ceban through a high number of materials portraying the Chisinau City Hall negatively, while representatives of the ruling party were disfavored in materials that negatively portrayed the central public authorities. Representatives of parties close to Ilan Sor benefited from a positive image transfer in biased materials about Sor’s involvement in the evacuation of Moldovan citizens from Israel.
- Orizont TV favored the Sansa Party and the Renastere Party through a large number of materials featuring the representatives of these parties as news subjects, as well as positive materials about the representatives of the former Shor Political Party. The MAN and PSRM candidates were disfavored due to a large number of materials with a negative connotation.
- Vocea Basarabiei TV did not provide access to electoral contestants in prime-time news and portrayed the campaign only from the perspective of the electoral process. The station favored the central public authorities in several news items with a positive connotation, which could also benefit candidates from the ruling party.
- Exclusiv TV provided a concise overview of the electoral campaign, with neutral and impartial coverage of electoral news. The station did not engage in ethical violations and did not favor any electoral contestant.
IJC recommends that broadcasters use monitoring reports as self-regulation tools and address deficiencies so that their activities align with legal norms and the Journalist’s Code of Ethics. Additionally, IJC recommends that the Audiovisual Council use monitoring reports to self-initiate assessments of whether the monitored TV stations have respected citizens’ right to complete, objective, and truthful information and the electoral contestants’ right to equal access to the media.
This monitoring report is part of the USAID and UK-funded project “Media Enabling Democracy, Inclusion and Accountability in Moldova” (MEDIA-M) and implemented by Internews in Moldova, which aims to promote the development of an independent, professional media, and to create a media sector that is more resilient to political and financial pressures. The opinions expressed in the report belong to the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the funders.