Last week of election campaign marred by fake news and denigration, API report

The last week of the election campaign was marred by fake news and denigration in the online media, with the right of reply not being offered, says the seventh report on the monitoring of the online media for November 8-14 that was compiled by the Association of Independent Press (API) within the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections. The monitoring of 12 portals also shows the accentuation of the biased character of some of the portals during the last week before the presidential runoff and continuous utilization of these resources online as instruments for denigrating the political opponents.

In a news conference at IPN, API expert Aneta Gonța said the political sector dominated clearly the themes treated by the 12 monitored portals, elements of this thematic area being presented in 639 cases, which means almost 58% of the total.  The electoral process was treated in 178 articles, while the social problems in an electoral context - 61 times. Other subjects, such as the work of the local public administration, the economy, foreign relations, culture, health or the Transnistrian conflict were raised much more seldom in the articles of the 12 monitored portals.

According to the report, the two candidates who competed in the presidential runoff appeared both in neutral contexts and in positive and negative contexts in the materials of the 12 monitored media outlets. However, Igor Dodon had more appearances in a positive context (444 cases).  He also appeared for 49 times in rather disadvantaging contexts. Maia Sandu was disfavored in more than half of the articles featuring her (268 times), while in 20 cases she was presented in contexts that rather favored her.

The sources quoted by the 12 portals remained powerfully unbalanced by the gender criteria, to the detriment of women. More exactly, 950 sources of the total (or almost 60%) were men, while 151 sources (or over 9%) were women. In the case of another 502 sources (or over 31%), the gender of the sources wasn’t specified.

During November 8-14, the 12 monitored media outlets published together 1,103 articles that referred strictly or indirectly to the election campaign prior to the presidential elections. Of these, the news items represented the majority (1,055 or almost 96%).

The largest number of relevant materials was published again by (211), while the lowest number for the second consecutive time by – 16 materials. The other publications referred to the electoral campaign: – 170 materials, – 110, – 92, – 90, – 88, – 85, – 83, – 78, – 61, while – 19 relevant materials.

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