The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) launched the first media monitoring report on Friday, October 13th, covering the local general elections campaign set for November 5, 2023. IJC monitored the main news broadcasts of ten television stations: Moldova 1, TVR Moldova, Jurnal TV, Pro TV Chisinau, TV8, Cinema 1, ITV, Orizont TV, Vocea Basarabiei TV, and Exclusiv TV.
The selection of these ten television stations was based on several criteria, such as audience and impact, public or private ownership, and the language of broadcast, either Romanian or Russian.
“Within this monitoring, the emphasis is placed on qualitative analysis, but this does not mean that we haven’t counted quotes and direct and indirect access of electoral competitors in the news. The goal and objectives of our project were to monitor and inform the public about the behavior of the media during the electoral campaign and regarding the access of electoral competitors to the media. We analyzed reporting trends that can affect the performance of media institutions and compromise their ability to provide the public with accurate, impartial, and pluralistic information,” stated Nadine Gogu, the Executive Director of the Independent Journalism Center, during the press conference where the report’s conclusions were presented.
As a result, IJC analyzed the complete content of the daily news broadcasts of the ten television stations, focusing on materials with direct and indirect electoral significance. The materials underwent content and context evaluation to determine whether they were favorable or unfavorable to any political party or electoral competitor.
The first monitoring report covers the period from October 1st to October 11th, and it revealed the following tendencies:
- Moldova 1, the public television station, provided balanced and impartial coverage of the election, offering equal access to most electoral competitors without evident bias.
- TVR Moldova provided airtime to most electoral competitors and portrayed them in a balanced and non-partisan manner, with the exception of the Sansa and Renastere parties, which were presented somewhat negatively.
- Jurnal TV objectively and impartially covered the electoral campaign, reporting on the activities of most electoral competitors while treating them equally and without bias.
- Pro TV Chisinau provided neutral coverage of the activities of most electoral competitors, adhering to ethical standards without showing favoritism.
- TV8 sporadically engaged in covering the electoral campaign, offering news access to a limited number of electoral competitors. Their electoral materials were impartial and did not favor one competitor over another.
- Cinema 1 allocated airtime for most candidates and electoral competitors based on electoral events, slightly favoring Ion Ceban through the materials broadcast during the monitoring period.
- ITV reported on events involving most electoral competitors, evidently favoring the candidates from the Sansa and Renastere parties through a tendentious presentation.
- Orizont TV favored the Sansa party by frequently featuring their representatives in news stories and by exhibiting a partisan attitude in reporting the activities of the party’s mayoral candidate for Chisinau.
- Vocea Basarabiei TV offered news access to a small number of electoral competitors, delivering neutral coverage without observable tendencies to favor or disfavor any competitors.
- Exclusiv TV did not cover topics with direct electoral significance and, consequently, did not provide news access to electoral competitors.
Among other recommendations, IJC suggests that broadcasters use the monitoring reports as self-regulation tools to address deficiencies and ensure their compliance with legal norms and journalistic ethical codes. Additionally, IJC recommends that the Audiovisual Council use these monitoring reports for evaluation of whether the monitored television stations have respected citizens’ right to complete, objective, and truthful information and the electoral competitors’ 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.