Elections 2021 and online press: between objectives informing and political bias

The campaign prior to the snap parliamentary elections of July 11 was covered by the online media primarily by news articles. Of the total number of materials published by the monitored portals, 3,793 were news items, 160 were comments, editorials and opinions, 34 were interviews, 17 were electoral debates and two were polls of the vox populi type. The Association of Independent Press (API) presented the final general report for the period between June 1 and July 11.

The monitored portals were: actualitati.md, agora.md, gagauzinfo.md, kp.md, newsmaker.md, noi.md, realitatea.md, sputnik.md, timpul.md, unimedia.info. There were measured and analyzed all the journalistic materials and unmarked advertisements that directly or indirectly referred to political and electoral themes.

API exert Aneta Gonța, in debates titled “Elections 2021 and online press: between objectives informing and political bias” that were held at IPN, said that most often the protagonists of the materials of the online press were: the Party of Action and Solidarity and the presidential administration – 1,932 materials, followed by the Electoral Bloc of the Communists and the Socialists – 1,885 materials, the citizens – 762 materials. The men were more often quoted than the women.

Most of the times, the sources of the materials were other media outlets – 769 materials, PSRMs – 676 materials, judges, prosecutors and lawyers – 387 materials, PAS – 351 materials. There were several cases, fewer than in the campaign prior to the presidential elections, when the message, even if it was an electoral or political advertisement, wasn’t marked appropriately.

API executive director Petru Macovei said the online press in the Republic of Moldova becomes increasingly powerful and opinion polls confirm this, even if the TV channels are yet in vogue by rating and audience.

Viorica Dumbravă, of the portal agora.md, noted that these reports help them to put things rights when it is the case. The monitoring of the conduct of election runners in relation to the media outlets would be welcome.

The report on the online media in the campaign prior to the snap parliamentary elections of July 11 will be published on API’s website. The event was held in the framework of a mass media monitoring project supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) of the U.S. as part of the Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections.

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