After the first round of the presidential elections, the quality of journalism at some of the portals has worsened and the biased character of some of the politically controlled media outlets became more accentuated, says the sixth report on the monitoring of the online media during the electoral period and campaign prior to the presidential elections that was compiled by the Association of Independent Press (API) within the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections. The monitoring covered the period between November 1 and 7 and the number of articles published by the 12 monitored portals in the period increased considerably, primarily on the election day of November 1.
In a news conference at IPN, API expert Aneta Gonța said at least three portals of the 12 monitored are very biased and have a similar editorial behavior, with accentuated elements of bias. These favored and promoted clearly independent candidate Igor Dodon, who is supported by the Party of Communists, and disfavored clearly and massively PAS candidate Maia Sandu.
“They not only presented the candidate in a rather negative light, but also staged a real discrediting, attack, denigration campaign based on false information, all kinds of insinuations, titles and sexist formulations,” stated the expert. According to her, this is a serious violation of the democratic norms, besides the journalist’s deontological norms. These are Actualitati.md, Aif.md and Kp.md.
Noi.md, Vedomosti.md and Sputnik.md continued to favor Igor Dodon by the tone and presentation in a positive context. Sputnik.md covered the campaign activities of the candidates in the most balanced way from quantitative viewpoint. Maia Sandu was disfavored by the three publications.
Gagauzinfo.md paid attention especially to the election day, the number of articles on the other days of the monitored period declining considerably. The publication ensured the best gender balance of the sources quoted in its electoral articles.
Unimedia.info covered the electoral process and the day of the first round of voting, presenting all the eight candidates. Igor Dodon was allotted more space and appeared most of the times in a positive context that favored him. Agora.md and Newsmaker.md had a relatively balanced editorial policy, their articles being generally unbiased, with the candidates for President being most of the times presented in a neutral light and also in a negative or positive light, built without evident bias.
Realitatea.md covered the election campaign and the election day, presenting all the candidates for President. Igor Dodon appeared most of the times in an unfavorable context.
Timpul.md paid the least attention to the electoral subjects in the monitored period, covering primarily the election day. Igor Dodon was placed primarily in unfavorable contexts, while Maia Sandu more often in favorable contexts.
Secretary of the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections Elena Prohnitski said the member organizations carry out a broad electoral process observation and monitoring exercise and conduct a number of civic education and voter informing campaigns. A separate sector is the mass media that cover the electoral period. Starting with September, the API and the Independent Journalism Center have assessed the way in which a number of media outlets have covered the election campaign and candidates’ activities.