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IJC Monitoring Report: President Igor Dodon and representatives of PSRM, favored in the newscasts of the public television Moldova 1

16 April 2020
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In the period of March 9-15, 2020, the public television station Moldova 1 adjusted a lot of its informative content to the government’s agenda, with central public authorities being mentioned and cited in newscasts the most often. At the same time, Igor Dodon appeared in a positive context in almost all newscasts, while the Party of Socialists was rather favored in comparison with the opposition. These are the conclusions of the monitoring report regarding the public television, launched by the Independent Journalism Center on Thursday, April 16. 

According to the report, about half of the news stories in the most important daily newscast, Mesager [Messenger], cited as sources central authorities or public institutions: Presidential Administration, Government, and Parliament. At the same time, Prime Minister Ion Chicu, President Igor Dodon, Health, Labor, and Social Protection Minister Viorica Dumbraveanu, President of Parliament Zinaida Greceanii, and Chisinau Mayor Ion Ceban enjoyed the broadest presence in news.

Among political actors, the Party of Socialists (PSRM) and its representatives were favored by means of direct citations, as sources, in a large number of news stories; by the prioritization of these news stories in newscasts; and by the PSRM, its initiatives, and representatives appearing in a positive light.

On the other hand, opposition parties and politicians were disfavored by means of the small number of their citations in news stories and by the position of stories with and about them in newscasts – usually in the second part or closer to the end of the newscast.

“The prevailing topic of newscasts on the public television station Moldova 1 during the monitoring period was the COVID-19 pandemic. Every edition of the Mesager newscast started with stories on this topic, making 30-40% of the total airtime of each newscast,” the report says.

According to the document, although Moldova 1 presented information mostly in a neutral manner, the monitoring showed some violations of professional ethics committed by the public television: change of accents, generalization of information, lack of the right to reply, and use of the National Savior/Messiah manipulation technique.”

The author of the study, media researcher Victor Gotisan, recommends to the Broadcasting Council to take note of the above facts and monitor the public station in order to identify violations of the law and apply relevant sanctions, and the Supervisory Board of the Teleradio-Moldova Company to supervise the activity of Moldova 1 in order to ensure that it realizes its mission to inform the public correctly and fairly. “Given that Moldova 1 is a public station, not ‘state-owned,’ its journalists and employees should be aware that they are in the service of Moldovan citizens,” the expert concludes.

The IJC will continue monitoring the public television station Moldova 1, as well as other media outlets from Moldova, in order to identify whether the journalistic materials broadcast/published by them contain abuses, elements of disinformation, or violations of professional ethics.

This 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 The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK aid, USAID or the United States Government.