Andrei Năstase and Ion Ceban have been the most publicised candidates for the capital's mayoralty by the Moldovan TV stations, from September 9-22. They are followed by Vladimir Cebotari, Valeriu Munteanu and Andrei Donică. These are the data of the first monitoring report on how the campaign for the election of the general mayor of Chisinau municipality is covered, presented by "WatchDog.MD" community.
At an IPN press conference, Rodica Pîrgari, one of the authors of the report, said that Andrei Năstase was the most publicised candidate between September 9-22. He has been slightly favoured by Jurnal TV, Moldova 1 and RTR Moldova stations, while Publika TV and Prime TV stations have visibly disadvantaged him. As for PSRM affiliated stations NTV and Accent TV, they have ignored him subjectively.
Voters saw quite a lot of news stories about Ion Ceban during the monitored period. The media coverage was balanced, mostly positive. "This is generally due to the fact that Ion Ceban started his campaign, holding events with electoral emphasis almost every day. Ion Ceban is clearly favoured by NTV Moldova and Accent TV and disadvantaged by Publika TV and Prime TV,” said Rodica Pîrgari. In the case of the PSRM candidate, the absolute majority of the news stories in a positive context appeared on the party’s affiliated posts.
Accent TV and NTV Moldova have a clearly biased attitude towards the candidate of PL Dorin Chirtoaca, broadcasting no news about him for two weeks. In general, voters have seen very few news reports about Dorin Chirtoaca during this period. Pro TV paid most attention to the former mayor.
Quite a few news articles were written about Ruslan Codreanu. The coverage was balanced, more positive than negative. Moldova 1 and TV journal stations have slightly favoured Ruslan Codreanu, while Accent TV has totally ignored him.
Valeriu Pasa, WatchDog.MD expert, argues that Prime TV and Publika TV are leaders in negative media coverage of candidates profiles, especially of Andrei Năstase and Ion Ceban. On Pro TV, 81% of the news stories concerning the candidates are neutral. It is followed by Jurnal TV and TV8.
"We see a noticeable improvement in the balance of broadcasting news in general and regarding candidates to the City Hall in particular by the TV stations, which is salutary. Even though Prime TV and Publika TV still have many news reports that can be interpreted as biased, as compared to the last year's election campaign in Chisinau, the situation has improved significantly. We see a clear policy of denigrating the candidates of the current ruling coalition, namely the ACUM bloc and PSRM”, said Valeriu Pasa.
Accent TV, NTV and RTR are at the bottom of the list, in terms of equidistant broadcasting. "Last year the posts affiliated to the PSRM group have not displayed much correctness in reflecting the electoral campaign, but now the situation has visibly deteriorated, both in the number of news stories broadcast in general and in the PSRM candidate to the rest of contenders ratio. One thing that is surprising is that RTR Moldova was much more balanced in the previous campaign”, mentioned Valeriu Pasa.
The expert also said that, in the context when the Audiovisual Council declared that it would almost not monitor TV stations in the election campaign, except for national coverage stations, "WatchDog.MD" community asked the parliamentary commission in charge of the media to be notified ex officio.
The report's authors say that they will soon come up with a second report, which will target news portals.