Only three of the 23 election contenders appeared in a neutral context on ten online portals during July 1-11. These are the Ecologist Green Party, Moldova’s Patriots Party and the Professionals Movement “Speranţa-Nadejda”. The other 20 election contenders were clearly favored and/or disfavored to a particular extent, shows the fourth and last report on the monitoring of ten online portals compiled by the Association of Independent Press (API) within the Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections.
In a news conference at IPN, API executive director Petru Macovei said BeCS was favored the most -150 cases, while PAS continued to be greatly disfavored – 169 cases.
In the monitoring period, the ten portals published together 1,175 articles, which is a higher number than in the previous analyzed periods. As many as 1,128 articles of these were news items. The editorial comments, interviews, electoral debates or vox-populi studies were much lower in number.
The most active portals that covered the election campaign were: Realiatea.md (222 articles), Noi.md, Actualități.md, Unimedia.info, Agora.md, Kp.md, Newsmaker.md, Timpul.md, Sputnik.md. The regional portal Gagauzinfo.md comes last with only seven materials about the elections during the last ten days of the election campaign.
Realiatea.md published most of the news items that were electoral in character, Kp.md – most of the comments, Agora.md – most of the interviews, while Newsmaker.md – most of the debates involving election contenders. The electoral materials referred primarily to the political sphere, this subject being treated six times more often than the electoral process. The articles that referred to corruption and crime, social problems and external relations were even fewer in number.
The Electoral Bloc of the Communists and the Socialist (BeCS) appeared most often in the journalistic materials during the last ten days of the election campaign - 372 mentions. It was followed by the Party of Action and Solidarity with 305 mentions. The next are: PSRM, AUR, citizens, presidential administration, Shor Party and others. All the 23 election contenders appeared as protagonists in the period.
The mass media were the main sources of information. Petru Macovei said the portals prefer to quote other media sources than to collect information about the subjects themselves. PSRM and BeCS were the next most quoted sources.
In 36.5% of the cases, the gender of sources in the articles was not specified. In 53.8% of the cases, the sources were only men, while in 9.7% - only women. Petru Macovei concluded that this is disproportionality in terms of the gender of the online information sources.
The ten monitored portals are: Actualitati.md, Agora.md, Gagauzinfo.md, Kp.md, Newsmaker.md, Noi.md, Realitatea.md, Sputnik.md, Timpul.md and Unimedia.info. The media experts analyzed the editorial behavior of these portals and monitoring the whole editorial content, except for advertisements that were marked appropriately.