In general, the online media in the Republic of Moldova didn’t fulfill their duty to inform the public about the electoral programs of candidates, didn’t generate debates with these on issues of public interest. Most of them served as the voice of candidates, doing this way a disfavor to the public, executive director of the Association of Independent Press Petru Macovei said in a news conference at IPN, which was organized by the Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (CALC).
According to Petru Macovei, most of the portals had a biased behavior, while the quality of journalism in the online media in the Republic of Moldova in this campaign was under any criticism. Of the 12 monitored portals, only two covered all the candidates for President, while the rest adopted a very selective approach by showing the electoral sympathies or antipathies of their owners. “Most of them were resonance boxes of politicians. They often amplified sexist and discriminatory messages transmitted in this campaign. Four of the portals monitored by us, which directly or through third parties belong to representatives of the Party of Socialists, staged a campaign aimed at defaming the PAS candidate Maia Sandu by different, absolutely biased messages by disseminating false and tendentious information. The journalists practically didn’t fulfill their mission to verify the information before publishing it,” stated Petru Macovei.
Nadine Gogu, director of the Independent Journalism Center, said that in the election campaign prior to the runoff vote, most of the media outlets had a biased behavior and covered the electoral contenders disproportionately. “Of the ten TV channels monitored by the Center within the Coalition, only two presented both of the candidates for President in a balanced and neutral way. Three TV channels continued to treat in a differentiated way the candidates by covering them in an unbalanced and tendentious way in a large number of materials, many of which were propagandist in character. These channels were openly biased in favor of a candidate and against the opponent of this candidate. Five TV channels pursued slightly unbalanced editorial policies, in favor or to the detriment of candidates,” stated Nadine Gogu.
According to her, the Audiovisual Council, which should have monitored the behavior of broadcasters and reacted promptly, didn’t fulfill its role of guarantor of the public interest and didn’t take appropriate decisions that could ensure the correct and balanced coverage of the electoral campaign.
Nicolai Cheleș, who heads the National Youth Council of Moldova, spoke about the differentiated participation by the young people in voting. According to him, the young people who settled abroad ensured an absolute voter turnout record compared with the low voter turnout among the youth in the country. This is due to the unfavorable legal framework for exercising the right to vote, namely the condition to vote at the place of residence or domicile and the superficial approaches adopted by the candidates to the needs of the young people who are most often engaged in campaign as volunteers.
The Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections is a permanent and voluntary entity founded in 2005 by a number of public organizations with the aim of contributing to the conduct of free, fair, transparent, inclusive and integral elections.