Case Study. Moldova 1, Mesager, 8 August, 21.00 11.08.2009
The analyzed TV material, although being about the statement of the constitution of the ruling coalition the Alliance for European Integration (AIE), signed on 8 August by the PLDM, PL, PDM and AMN, actually offers the viewers superficial and chaotic information, in places presented by the author in a fragmented and selective-subjective manner.
The political message contained by the manifesto of the Liberals and Democrats was expected both by the voters who had opted for those parties, and by the ones who had had other political options, or had not attended the July 29 poll. This supposition that we’re inclined to qualify as grounded was to be expressed in coherent and consistent media messages, in order to insure the good information of the citizens on the ruling goals set out by the PLDM, PL, PDM and AMN.
What did Moldova 1 report?
In the material in question, the reporter, presented the background of the event, upon his own initiative, and then finds that “the Liberals and the PD kept their word and set up the parliamentary coalition” and it is based on 5 principles (the statement reads those are “major objectives”.) Later in the report, the author states “the leaders of those four parties committed, in front of society, to achieve more objectives,” of which Moldova 1 names but two in full (“The territorial reintegration of the country,” “Moldova’s European integration and the promotion of balanced, consistent and responsible foreign policy”), the third one being (“Overcoming the economic crisis and insuring the economic growth” ). The author quotes but the first part leaving off the second.
The considered report also informs the viewers that, after signing the mentioned statement, “one should start a political dialogue with the Communists party to elect the head of the state.” The report also specifies the coalition’s attitude towards NATO and the reporter states “the actual talks within the coalition are only to start”, that the leaders of the 4 parties did not discus the distribution of state offices, that the alliance has no ruling program. Finally, the reporter shows the (negative) attitude of the PCRM towards the newly created coalition.
The first is re-establishing the state of law, guaranteeing the respect for the human rights, insuring the freedom of media and reforming the public broadcasting, quickly removing the consequences of usurping the state power by insuring the effective separation of the legal, executive and judicial branches, guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary, reforming the force structures in accordance with the European standards. Of key importance is also the full investigation of the events from April 2009 by setting up a probing commission, credible and depoliticized, with the participation of independent experts and representatives of international institutions.
The second objective, Interlic went on, is overcoming the social-economic crisis and insuring the economic growth, the correct, honest and transparent management of the public money, liberalizing the economy and ousting monopolies and excessive red tape, curbing the abusive involvement of the government in the work of entrepreneurs, re-establishing and strengthening the relationships with the international financial institutions.
The coalition also wants to decentralize the government and insure the local autonomy, to dismantle the “power vertical” and curb the political discrimination in the state budget process and in allocating the investments towards the local public authorities.
The territorial reintegration of Moldova is the fourth priority, Interlic reports. The democratic parties promise to insure the transparency in the process of solving and in finding a viable mechanism for the complex settlement of the Transnistrian issue.
The fifth objective promised by the new Alliance is Moldova’s European integration and the promotion of balanced, consistent and responsible foreign policy, signing an association accord with the EU, promoting strategic partnerships with the USA and Russia, re-establishing and strengthening the good neighborhood relations with Romania and Ukraine, Interlic went on.
The web site politik.md, referring to the signed statement, quoted Vladimir Filat, the PLDM leader, as saying: “The most important step that needed to be made was attained today”. Marian Lupu was quoted by politik.md as saying: “Today, we set up the foundation of the first stage, the most important one.” According to politik.md, V.Filat also stated: “We stated from the very beginning that we assume the responsibility for this very complicated process not to give satisfaction to some or others, but to insure the later functionality of the coalition. We are to implement, step by step, every objective from this document in the citizens’ interest.” (http://politik.md/?view=articlefull&viewarticle=1444)
Infotag news agency remarked: “Although the coalition will have but 53 seats, the leaders of the Alliance are confident they will find the necessary votes to overcome the political crisis (61 votes.) “We are certain the Communists Party will vote to elect a president, since this corresponds to the country’s interests and the Communists’ electoral promises. They promised to defend the interests of the motherland and not to trigger new elections. This means that not 8 but all those 48 Communists will vote to elect the president. They are to decide this by themselves,” said the leader of the Liberal Party, Mihai Ghimpu.
Democratic Party president Marian Lupu was not so categorical, Infotag specifies. ”We’ll conduct a dialogue with the Communists Party. It will be a civilized, calmdialogue, matching the European principles. There emerged a too complicated economic and political situation in the country and we have no right to make mistakes,” Lupu said. President of Our Moldova Alliance Serafim Urechean stated “the dialogue will not have preliminary conditions and the key offices in the country will not be discussed with the Communists.”
In terms of foreign policy, Infotag reports, the AIE pledges “to promote strategic partnerships with the USA and the Russian Federation, to re-establish and strengthen the good neighborhood relations with Romania and Ukraine, to restore Moldova’s image abroad and its trustworthiness both domestically and externally.” The AIE leaders stated they would respect the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Moldova, including the principle of neutrality. Among its key measures the AIE calls eliminating the visas regime for Romanian citizens, impelled by Moldova’s Communist authorities after the riots of 7 April in Chişinău.
“We assume the responsibility for this situation, we made commitments that we’ll respect with all our responsibility, in order to insure the functionality of the coalition,” Filat is quoted by Infotag as saying.
The AIE leaders announced they had had consultations and would be supported by other states and world financial institutions. “We know the situation in the country is deplorable. The Communists unleashed the crisis, the budget deficit is up, the money is scarce. However, we cannot intrust the Communists to solve the problems they caused. They are not capable of doing it, they can only cause crises and poverty,” Ghimpu is quoted by Infotag as saying.
Moldova 1’s report is marked by schematism, and the information is presented in places in a selective-subjective and fragmented manner
Relating the report broadcast by Moldova 1 to the essence of other media’s reports, quoted above, we find the following:
·Moldova 1 neglected 2 of those 5 objectives contained in the statement (“Re-establishing the state of law”, “Decentralizing the government and insuring the local autonomy”);
·This TV station offered no detail about every objective from the ruling agenda of the coalition, what does not insure the adequate assimilation of the content of each objective;
·Moldova 1’s report communicates nothing about the coalition’s views on the economic policy;
·Moldova 1 gave no details about the pillars of the foreign policy the coalition wants to promote, neither did it say anything about the strategic partnership with the USA and Russia, about the relations with the EU, Romania and Ukraine – areas of enhanced interest for the citizens;
·The report did not explain the reasons of the coalition to conduct a political dialogue and not negotiations with the Communists Party in order to elect the president of the country, etc.
Bearing in mind those arguments, we can draw the conclusion: Mesager superficially presented the political manifesto of the AIE. Consequently, this newscast promoted, willy-nilly, ambiguity in perceiving the mentioned statement, thus disfavoring the population with restricted access to media or for whom the public broadcaster Moldova 1 is the only source of accessible information in order to shape, freely and conscientiously, a judgment about the coalition created by the Liberals and Democrats.
The considered report also suffers from pressure in tackling subjects subjectively and selectively.
The subjectivity comes out from:
·Using the word “only”, as it has multiple estimative connotations – “hardly”, “with difficulty” (“They also state the negotiations as such, within the coalition, will start only now, after signing the joint statement of constituting the alliance”);
·Using adversative conjunction “but” and the superlative “much sooner” which in the following phrase underlines the satisfaction (non-satisfaction) of the author: (“The Liberals and the PD kept their word and set up the parliamentary coalition, but this event happened much sooner than earlier announced by the leaders of AMN and PL”)
·Using another superlative (“the most important”) tells of the selective choice of quotes (“The leaders of those 4 parties committed, in front of society,to attain several objectives, the most important being overcoming the social-economic crisis, the country’s territorial reintegration, Moldova’s European integration and the promotion of balanced, consistent and responsible foreign policy”) etc.
The selective treatment of the documentary material tells of the partial presentation of facts at least in two cases.
The first case envisages the way of ruling of the coalition with or without the participation of the Communist Party. Moldova 1, in quoting Ghimpu, set names latin1;INSERTs but a phrase (“All the problems related to the governing of Moldova will be decided by us four”) from a long phrase (“All the problems related to the governing of Moldova will be decided by us four. We assume the responsibility to have a democratic government, to let man feel what democracy, free media, free economy are. As for the Communists, all they have to do is to attain what they said in the electoral campaign: to love their motherland, to promote the political stability and they are against early elections” (see the recording on http://politik.md/?view=articlefull&viewarticle=1444). Taking the first phrase out of the context thus fragmentizes M.Ghimpu’s idea, presenting him as greedy for power.
The second case is about journalists’ question about “the ruling program”. Mesager resorted, by montage, to present two views as opposing each other: on the one hand there was the recording with the PL leader saying (“it’s ready 99.9%”), and, on the other hand, the recording of the PDM leader, who, according to the author of the report, “does not share the optimism of his coalition colleague” (“It’s an important question. We cannot state now there is a ruling program of the government, taking into account that the government has not been formed yet”). The tricking was done by using two methods. The first consists in equalizing two notions, although close, but not identical – the ruling program (referred to by the author of the report and M. Ghimpu) and the program of the cabinet (spoken about by M. Lupu.) The second method consists in subjectively extracting the quoted phrase fromM. Lupu’s answer . The unabridged recording of the answer to this question (see http://politik.md/?view=articlefull&viewarticle=1444) shows that after the phrase in question, a ‘but’ follows and this specification by Lupu: “but we have all the main components of this program, taking into account that, in general, the worded principles and the objectives come from multiple documents drafted till now.” The sentence left off by Moldova 1 doubts the statement of the author of the report that Lupu “does not share the optimism of his coalition colleague.”
To conclude with, we’ll find that the analyzed TV material, through its content and methods of subjective and selective treatment of the documentary material, presents the essence of the event in question in a superficial manner. In general, these peculiarities of the report are meant to inoculate its final idea (“this ruling coalition actually is a new version of the former Alliance for Democracy and Reforms, which unsuccessfully tried to rule the country, being constituted in 1998 and lasted for only 9 months. The Alliance dismantled because of the misunderstandings and antagonism of its component parts.”)
The Videomonitor is produced in the Project “Monitoring the political/electoral actors’ presence on the main television channels during the electoral campaign for the early parliamentary elections in Moldova in 2009 and enhancing the impact of the monitoring by depicting the cases of severe violation of legal provisions and professional ethics.” This project is financially supported by the Eurasia Foundation from the resources provided by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of the commentary do not necessarily share the views of the Eurasia Foundation, SIDA or USAID.