Media go on practicing political partisanship: watchdogs

Media go practicing political partisanship, is the conclusion of a fourth monitoring report on 24 Moldovan media covering the elections.
Info-Prim Neo, 26 March 2009, 19:04

2009-03-26/12:48/ Chisinau (IPN)  The report was launched on Thursday at Info-Prim Neo news agency by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) and the Independent Press Association (IPA), as part of the Civic Coalition for Free and Fairs Elections - Coalition 2009.

Those 24 media were monitored from March 12 through 18. "The compiled data confirm the trends certified during the previous monitoring sessions," said Nadine Gogu from the IJC. "In covering different events, journalists from most of the media either favor or unfavor certain electoral contestants. The contestants do not enjoy equal access to media and this way the public's right to have access to equidistant and impartial information is violated. Some journalists also manipulate the information, take certain statements out of the context, comment them and disto rt facts," she said.

IPA executive Petru Macovei says "the language used by certain media during the campaign is too critical, not always reasoned and often slanderous as to electoral competitors they do not support." "This can erode the public's trust and negatively influence the campaign."

The experts have not noticed major changes in the monitored broadcasters' covering the campaign. "The stations having practiced political partisanship in favor of some party or other went on doing so. The stations having distorted information and having consciously discredited some opposition parties went on doing so. The public stations having national coverage kept their policy of assisting the ruling party to stay in power," said ICJ expert Nicolae Negru.

The print media go on covering the elections from two different perspectives reasoned by their editors' likes or dislikes. Observers point out there are fewe r election-related articles, as more and more opinions, letters from readers or public addresses are published.

The report was prepared as part of the Monitoring Mass Media during the Election Campaign for the 2009 Parliamentary Elections Project, which is financially supported by the Representative Office of Eurasia Foundation in Moldova from the resources of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Election - Coalition 2009 is a voluntary union of NGOs that aims to contribute to ensuring free, fair, transparent and democratic elections for the Parliament. It continues the activities promoting free and fair elections initiated by Coalition 2005 and Coalition 2007 and has 70 NGO members.