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IJC Report: Igor Dodon still massively favored by some monitored TV stations

09 October 2020
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Igor Dodon, independent candidate in presidential elections, supported by the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), is the first among the competitors who benefited from positive coverage, being massively favored by three television stations out of ten. On the other hand, the PAS candidate Maia Sandu had the most appearances in negative light. PSRM and Shor Party benefited most often from positive tone, while the work of public authorities was covered mostly in a neutral manner. These are the conclusions of the second monitoring report published by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) during the electoral campaign for the presidential elections of November 1, 2020.

According to the report, the public television station Moldova 1 offered relatively equal access to candidates and parties in news, presenting them mostly in a neutral tone. Igor Dodon was slightly favored by two appearances in positive light as an electoral competitor, and also benefited from image transfer in positive news stories about the Government.

The private television stations Primul în MoldovaNTV Moldova, and Accent TV had a similar editorial policy, in most cases using the same approach and the same sources. The vast majority of materials promoted the country’s leadership and PSRM, covering in a mostly positive manner the topics involving the exponents of the power. Igor Dodon as a candidate was massively favored by these stations, both by the high frequency of appearances and direct speech and by the positive tone. These stations also had a large number of materials about the activities of the PAS candidate Maia Sandu, mostly with negative connotation. The other competitors were presented in a relatively neutral tone.

Televiziunea Centrală actively covered the electoral campaign, offering relatively equal access to electoral candidates, who were presented mostly in neutral light. The only candidate that benefited from appearances in positive light is Violeta Ivanov of the Shor Party.

Prime TV and Publika TV had a similar editorial policy, informing about the campaign only in newscasts, where they offered access to all electoral competitors. The tone of presentation of candidates and political parties was mostly neutral, and public authorities, especially the Government, were presented in a neutral and positive manner.

Jurnal TV, Pro TV, and TV8 actively covered the campaign in newscasts and other programs, showing a fair and balanced behavior. The tone of presentation of electoral competitors and parties in news was in most cases neutral, without clear tendencies of their favoring by means of the frequency and duration of appearances. Public authorities were presented mostly in neutral light, but also negative.

By monitoring media outlets, the IJC aims to inform the public about the behavior of the media during the electoral campaign and the access of electoral competitors to the media, but also to notify regulators about trends that could affect media performance or compromise their ability to provide the public with truthful, unbiased, and pluralistic information.
The IJC recommends the Broadcasting Council to use monitoring reports in order to take note of the facts and to assess whether the monitored stations have complied with the right to full, objective, and truthful information.

A total of ten broadcasters were monitored: Moldova 1, Prime TV, Publika TV, Jurnal TV, NTV Moldova, Primul în Moldova, Accent TV, Pro TV, TV8, and Televiziunea Centrală. The stations were selected according to the following criteria: audience/impact (national, regional), type of media (broadcasting), form of ownership (public, private), language of broadcasting (Romanian, Russian).
This report is part of the USAID and UK aid funded project “Media Enabling Democracy, Inclusion and Accountability in Moldova” (MEDIA-M) and implemented by Internews in Moldova, which aims to promote the development of an independent, professional media, and to create a media sector that is more resilient to political and financial pressures. The contents are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK aid, USAID or the United States Government.