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IJC Monitoring Report: Mixing Facts and Opinions — the Most Common Manipulation Technique Used by Media Outlets

04 October 2019
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Mixing facts and opinions remains the main violation made by the media outlets monitored by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC). This is one of the findings stated in ‘Elements of Propaganda, Misinformation, and Violation of Journalism Ethics in the Local Media (1 July – 29 September 2019)’ Report, launched by Independent Journalism Center on Monday, 30 October.

The report includes five case studies that show how the monitored media outlets have reflected topical issues, such as the higher taxes for the HoReCa sector, the judiciary reform, President Igor Dodon's visits to Moscow and Brussels, removal of parliamentary immunity and apprehension of MPs Tauber and Apostolova, 100 days of the Sandu Government.

The report also identified the domestic enemy and the selective information as other manipulation techniques used frequently by the monitored media outlets. Generalisation is also used more often; partisan and ironic headlines are still preferred by many media outlets. At the same time, though labeling and negative image transfer have disappeared, the fake news and, more and more frequently, reference to sources impossible to verify have come back.

As a solution, IJC recommends that the Broadcasting Council (BC) takes action and monitors the TV channels that reportedly broadcast manipulative information, in order to find derogations from legislation and to apply corresponding sanctions. To this end, IJC will send the Monitoring Report and a cover letter to the BC Director. IJC also urges editors of TV channels to monitor the editorial content in order to make sure that it follows media’s mission to inform correctly the audience, by broadcasting neutral, equidistant and accurate information and ensuring balanced sources.

Note that 12 media outlets were monitored between 1 July and 29 September: three online portals (Sputnik.md, Kp.md and Unimedia.info) and nine TV channels (Moldova 1, Prime TV, Channel 3, Accent TV, NTV Moldova, Central Television (Orhei), Jurnal TV, TV8, PRO TV Chisinau). They were selected on the basis of audience, language and national coverage.

The full Monitoring Report on Misinformation and Propaganda in the Local Media can be accessed on Media-Azi and Mediacritica.

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This Monitoring Report is made possible by the generous support of the American and British people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and UK Aid. The contents are the responsibility of  Independent Journalism Center and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Aid, USAID or the United States Government.