Media outlets combine manipulative techniques to favor parties, IJC

Blurring is a new manipulative technique used by some of the TV channels in Moldova to create confusion and to distract attention from really important issues. Some of the media outlets started to combine manipulative techniques so as to consolidate the image of the political parties they favor, shows the quarterly monitoring report “Elements of Propaganda, Information Manipulation and Violation of the Rules of Journalistic Deontology in the Domestic Mass Media” that was presented by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC).

Twelve media outlets were monitored in July – September. The monitored subjects included the debates and vote of the European Parliament on the suspension of the financial assistance and budget support, adoption of the capital amnesty, the protests mounted in central Chisinau on August 26, arrest of the seven employees of the Lyceum “Orizont” and the investiture of Silviei Radu and Nicolae Ciubuc as members of the Filip Cabinet.

In a news conference at IPN, report author Victor Gotișan said some of the media outlets disseminated confused, incomplete or false information. The excessive politicization of subjects continued. Among the TV channels that most often resorted to manipulative techniques were: Publika TV and Canal 2, which favored the Democratic Party and its representatives, Accent TV, NTV Moldova and, to a particular extent,, which favored the Party of Socialists, and Jurnal TV that periodically committed similar departures, favoring the Party “Platform Dignity and Truth”.

Some of the media outlets tried to combine manipulative techniques, such as the “national savior” (Accent TV, NTV Moldova) in the case of the political players they support, and the “internal or external enemy” of policies (Publika TV, NTV Moldova Canal 2, in the case of opponents. As to the media content, the protests held in central Chisinau on August 26 was the most politicized subject in the monitored period.

As regards the observance of the professional ethics and norms, Accent TV and mingled facts and opinions in the case of the debates and vote held in the European Parliament on the stopping of the macro-financial assistance, Jurnal TV and – in the case of the events staged in the center of Chisinau on August 26, Canal 2 – about the arrest of the seven employees of the Lyceum “Orizont” and Canal 2 and NTV Moldova – over the swearing in of Silvia Radu and Nicolae Ciubuc as ministers. Accent TV, Publika TV, Canal 2, NTV Moldova and generalized and didn’t ensure the right to reply when covering the subjects. TV8, Pro TV Chisinau and covered the topical sociopolitical subjects mainly correctly, neutrally and impartially.

Independent Journalism Center executive director Nadine Gogu recommended the Broadcasting Coordination Council to monitor the TV channels whose content is reportedly a source of manipulative or incorrect information. Even if the Council cannot use the monitoring reports to impose penalties, these can be used to launch the own monitoring.

“There are a number of reports and the Council can choose the broadcasters that always appear in our reports as they deviate from the norms and manipulate most of the times and do not respect the Broadcasting Code. Even by using the old Deontological Code, they can monitor and take measures because this is ultimately their work,” stated Nadine Gogu. As to the behavior of citizens, she said the mass media are less trusted and the people become more critical of the consumed media products.

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