The monitoring covered 12 television stations and online portals and analyzed materials that informed about five events of major public interest from the period of January 1 – April 30, 2020.
According to the study, the main violation is failure to ensure the right to reply for the people accused in controversial news stories, followed by mixture of facts with opinions and generalization, labeling and selective presentation of facts and opinions. At the same time, some media outlets used manipulation methods such as blurring of information, manipulation by means of video, internal enemy technique, and “National Savior” technique.
The study results showed that over half of the monitored media outlets politicized those topics by presenting them from the perspective of political preferences. “The televisions Prime TV and Publika TV broadcast mostly the same content, favoring the parliamentary group Pro Moldova and its representatives. On the other hand, NTV Moldova, Accent TV, Primul in Moldova, Sputnik.md, and Kp.md had a pro-PSRM [Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova] approach and favored President Igor Dodon in news,” mentioned the author of the report, Victor Gotisan.
According to the researcher, NTV Moldova, Accent TV, Primul in Moldova, and Kp.md often used ironic and tendentious headlines, and Accent TV, Unimedia.info, Sputnik.md, and Kp.md resorted to fakes in the presentation of information. Generalization was used by Televiziunea Centrala, Prime TV, NTV Moldova, Accent TV, Sputnik.md, and Primul in Moldova.
Of the 12 monitored media outlets, only Jurnal TV and RTR Moldova covered the five events in a neutral and impartial manner, without violating deontological standards, while the public television Moldova 1 and the portal Unimedia.info presented information in a mostly neutral manner, and both these outlets slightly favored President Igor Dodon.
The report recommends media outlets to inform their audiences in a fair and impartial manner and to present the entire information, without approaching it selectively or blurring it based on political preferences. In addition, the media should understand that ensuring the right to reply to the people concerned is mandatory and is one of the key rules in journalism.
The 12 monitored media outlets were selected based on the following criteria: coverage (national), language of content (Romanian and Russian), and impact (circulation and audience).
The full content of the monitoring report on disinformation and propaganda in the Moldovan media space can be seen on the websites Media Azi and Mediacritica.
The production of this report has been possible due to the generous help of the American and British people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and UK Aid. The content of this material is the responsibility of the Independent Journalism Center, and it might not reflect the vision of UK Aid, USAID, or the United States Government.