The Independent Journalism Center monitored 12 media outlets in Moldova – news portals and TV channels – in the period of May 1 – August 1, 2016, in order to identify whether the journalistic materials they broadcast contain violations of ethical rules and elements of information manipulation.
The monitoring examined how these media outlets cover events of major public interest in the areas of politics, economy, external policy, etc. and whether they abide by journalism rules on verifying information via several sources and ensuring pluralism of opinions and balance in conflicting news stories.
Referral to the Code of Ethics and to important scientific works enabled identification of procedures and devices used to influence the public by spreading manipulating messages.
Purpose of monitoring:
- To determine whether the media abide by professional ethics or use manipulation in the coverage of topics of public interest, and to identify eventual violations.
- To expose the intentional or unintentional mistakes made by journalists while reporting about facts, so that case studies and monitoring reports might play an educational role.
- Another purpose of monitoring is to contribute to increasing the vigilance of media consumers to the risks of receiving information from unsafe sources.
Thus, the monitoring aims to help consumers understand how the media can manipulate so that they be able to see the difference between manipulating media products and those which cover the situation objectively, and encourage citizens to appeal to several sources of information when they doubt the credibility of some media materials.
Attempts to violate the rules of ethics and use devices characteristic to propaganda and manipulation, mentioned in the IJC reports of February 201618 and May 201619 , continued in May, June and July 2016, and in some cases they got amplified and diversified.
Some monitored media outlets covered the events in this study in violation of the Journalist’s Code of Ethics, namely: they exaggerated facts, presented them unilaterally, mixed up facts and opinions, used labeling, and failed to ensure pluralism of opinions.
As a result, media consumers obtained unilateral, tendentious, unbalanced media products.
Cases of violation of ethical norms and use of information manipulation devices were especially found in the production of conflicting materials (news presenting situations of conflict, accusations) concerning domestic and foreign news.
Replacing the news story of public interest with those containing personal attacks in order to discredit the source / protagonist, transfer of negative image, repeating statements so as to make them perceived as the truth, omission, exacerbation of facts are techniques used by some media outlets.
Elements of information manipulation and propaganda were most often found in the news reports of Publika TV, RTR Vesti, REN TV, Jurnal TV, Sputnik.md and in a smaller degree in those of Deschide.md and Ziarul Național.
In the coverage of political topics, some monitored outlets favored certain political figures and disfavored others, by means of text and images, thus presenting facts in a distorted manner.
Russian monitored channels rebroadcast in Moldova present to local consumers topics about Ukraine in a tendentious and propagandistic manner, exclusively from the perspective of the Russian Federation, to the detriment of complete and neutral information.
Download the monitoring report “Elements of Propaganda, Information Manipulation and Violation of Journalism Ethics in the Local Media Space“
This monitoring report was developed by the Independent Journalism Center within the Media campaign against false and biased information – STOP FALS!, conducted by the Association of Independent Press (API), Independent Journalism Center (IJC) and Association of Independent TV Journalists (ATVJI).