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Mediacritica

On July 24, 2015, a group of people led by Grigore Petrenco, the chairman of Our Home Moldova Party, protested on Bulgara Street in Chisinau next to an apartment building that is home to Vlad Plahotniuc, the deputy chairman of the Democratic Party (MP at the moment). Protesters were asking for an annulment of the decision to increase the tariff for electricity by 37% because they considered that this increase was for the benefit of intermediary companies allegedly controlled by Mr. Plahotniuc.

The majority of television stations produced news stories about the demonstration in which they announced that a group of protesters decided to camp overnight in tents next to Vlad Plahotniuc’s home. News stories on this topic appeared in the following days also because the protesters camped for a week.

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Presentation of the topic
Several media outlets wrote about the arrests of owners of the Caravita Company in the context of the fraud at Banca de Economii (BEM). Anticorruption prosecutors presented evidence to the press gathered as the result of searching the company’s offices and owners’ homes. According to the prosecutors, both Caravita and Business Estate Investment companies took loans from BEM that they then transferred into banks in Latvia. They presented the scheme of how BEM offered loans that became nonperforming. At first glance it seemed to be quite comprehensive news showing exactly and in detail who was guilty of the fraud at BEM, but the facts ended there.

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On August 10, 2015, the majority of television stations and news portals published information based entirely on the statement of Mihai Moldovanu, head of the Health Department of Chisinau Municipality. After a meeting at the Chisinau Mayor’s Office, he announced that two heads of department at the Holy Trinity Hospital had been dismissed and that a reprimand was imposed on a third hospital employee for negligence during the operations on July 16 on 10 patients who suffered complications after eye surgery.

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This case study is based on online news stories whose authors, contrary to professional norms, use judgmental language, thus developing a certain attitude on what they write about. According to the golden rule, reporters should not express judgments in news stories. Some reporters, however, ignore this rule. Here are some examples.

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Case study

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Presentation of the topic
The protest on October 4, 2015 was the center of attention of Moldovan mass media. The majority of television stations gave a lot of airtime to the event. Journalists presented details about the brief siege of the Parliament and the Global Business Center buildings and about the protesters’ clashes with the police. The event was also the topic of analysis programs on the majority of TV channels.

Facts
The television stations analyzed in this case study covered the topic in different ways: Some focused on chronological criteria while others focused only on some aspects of the event.

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