Media managers about API report on coverage of election campaign

Managers of online media portals that were monitored by the Association of Independent Press (API) during the campaign prior to the snap parliamentary elections of July 11 approved of the findings and quality of monitoring and formulated proposals and also provided details.

In an online debate staged by API at IPN News Agency, Eugeniu Rîbca, director of the portal, said there were cases when they were asked to broadcast commercials, but these were actually political advertisements. He asked the debate organizers if they met with such cases.

API expert Aneta Gonța said there were several cases of unmarked political advertisements, but the number was lower than in the previous election campaigns. API executive director Petru Macovei said he saw advertising of the Shor Party that was broadcast by some of the media outlets without being marked as electoral advertising. The current legislation bans unmarked advertising. In another development, Petru Macovei said the selection of news items or events that are covered by the media is a well-known technique for manipulating public opinion, which was also seen in the recent election campaign.

Ludmila Barba, of TV Moldova Internațional, stated that if taking into account the first objective of the monitoring – how professionally and impartially the press in the Republic of Moldova works, in accordance with the demonological code – the report answers most of the questions. As regards the second objective – to assess the impact of the press on voters’ preferences – the media manager wondered if those who compile the reports thought about extending the methodology as, according to her, favoring and disfavoring do not necessarily mean that the electors will vote for that party. Ludmila Barba also thinks that the general context of the news items broadcast during the election campaign should also be determined so as to see what information exists, who pleads for a party or another. Combined, these can offer a response to the question why particular parties have a particular electoral score.

Journalist Lilia Zaharia wondered if the Press Council examined the reported attacks on election contenders.  Petru Macovei, as the secretary of the Press Council, said they received no such requests from election runners. The Press Council examines only very serious cases concerning discrimination or children’s rights. It is considered that the election competitors can defend their rights by themselves and the Press Council can intervene in particular cases only.

The report on the online media in the campaign prior to the snap parliamentary elections of July 11 will be published on API’s website. The event was held in the framework of a mass media monitoring project supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) of the U.S. as part of the Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections.

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