Six of the ten online publications monitored by the Association of Independent Press (API) presented unbalance information during the last decade of the election campaign and on the election day. They directly or indirectly promoted the agenda of election contenders to a particular extent and acted as the representatives of election runners, API executive director Petru Macovei said when presenting report No. 4 on the monitoring of the editorial conduct of the online press during the campaign prior to the snap parliamentary elections of 2021, July 1-11.
In a news conference at IPN, Petru Macovei said two of the ten publications, Actualitati.md and Kp.md, greatly promoted BeCS, disfavoring PAS and President Maia Sandu, behaving practically similarly. The reply of those concerned was absent. Noi.md, Sputnik.md and Unimedia.info, even if more discreetly, more often presented BeCS in a favorable light, while PAS in an unfavorable light. Sputnik.md and Unimedia.info disfavored AUR. Timpul.md promoted the electoral agenda of AUR, discrediting other contenders, primarily PAS, BeCS, the Electoral Bloc “Renato Usatîi” and the Shor Party.
Agora.md and Newsmaker.md had a balanced editorial policy in relation to all the contenders, without favoring or disfavoring someone. Agora.md had the most balanced editorial policy in relation to the electoral events and contenders, while Newsmaker.md was the only publication that in its materials quoted all the election runners. The regional portal Gagauzinfo.md paid insignificant attention to the election campaign, publishing a few materials on the issue. Realitatea.md allotted airtime to a larger number of contenders, but favored or disfavored some of them, didn’t obtain replies and had hidden electoral ads.
On election day, Actualitati.md had the same editorial policy as during the whole monitoring period. It massively published news items based on statements made by BeCS and accusations against PAS. The editorial staff didn’t look for reactions and didn’t publish some when reactions existed.
Agora.md correctly and impartially covered the events on election day. All the election contenders were presented neutrally. The portal published news items about the July 11 elections at an interval of 5-15 minutes.
Gagauzinfo.md published neutral news items about the elections, with updated information about voter turnout, how Irina Vlah voted and a Vox Populi study of people’s expectations.
Kp.md, as during the rest of the campaign, presented BeCS in a positive light, while PAS in a negative light. It related only how Gheorghe Cavcaliuc voted.
Newsmaker.md covered the elections impartially and reported the violations ascertained by Promo-Lex and the police, the protest mounted by a group of people, including combatants, at the entrance to Varnița. To the accusations made by election contenders against each other, Newsmaker.md presented the reply of those concerned.
Noi.md published a lot of news items about the elections, starting with the first Moldovans who voted, the queues at polling stations abroad, in Varnița. Realitatea.md on the election day published many news articles that referred to many contenders. It had a balanced behavior, except for slightly biased titles and comments.
Sputnik.md actively covered the election day. By 9pm, it published 58 news items about the parliamentary elections. Among the voting candidates, it presented only Igor Dodon, Vladimir Voronin, Igor Grosu and Andrei Năstase.
Timpul.md published 12 electoral news items on election day. Most of them referred to the violations witnessed in the Transnistrian region and presented statements of persons who said they were paid to vote for BeCS or the Shor Party. It also covered the voter turnout, voting places of AUR leaders and the CEC’s briefing of the morning of July 11. News items about other election contenders and the preliminary elections results weren’t published.
Unimedia.info on election day presented the previous statements of contenders, primarily Igor Dodon and Vladimir Voronin. The news items were often accompanied by images. On July 11, an election banner of BeCS (paid) was present on the website throughout the day, until the polls closed.