“Monitoring Results: The Coverage of Parliamentary Elections by Broadcasting Mass Media in 2017 (March 5-31)”
04.04.2017
12:00
A press conference entitled “Observation Results: The Coverage of Parliamentary Elections by Broadcasting Mass Media in 2017 (March 5-31)” will be held on April 4 at Media Center.

Boris Navasardyan, President of Yerevan Press Club, presented the results and the analysis of the monitoring conducted by their organization.

Boris Navasardyan noted that according to international and local observers partially complaints about the media are less during these elections than in the previous ones.

“I can say that in terms of broadcasting media we had almost the same situation as in the parliamentary elections in 2012 and the presidential elections in 2013. That is, 5 years ago, we had positive developments which were due to legislative changes, and the fact that the National Commission on Television and Radio began to monitor broadcasting media as a result of our long lasting requirements. Before that, only international observers and the organizations like ours did the monitoring which had very little chance for legal consequences,” Boris Navasardyan said.  

The speaker drew attention to the fact that, despite the developing internet and online media, 80 percent of citizens continue to consider TV as a main source of information. Therefore, certain regulations and sector specific regulations are necessary. 

To emphasize the importance of television Boris Navasardyan brought remarkable examples of media coverage of the election campaign on April 2.

“President Levon Ter-Petrosyan never gave an interview at the TV studios either being in the Presidential office or after leaving politics, or while being an opposition. During this election campaign, we actually saw that Ter-Petrosyan gave great significance to the television and decided to participate in 2 TV interviews. The same can be said for Gagik Tsarukyan, who also gave an interview to the TV studio.” 

While commenting on the broadcasting media coverage of the campaign, the speaker stressed the absence of debates between the political forces and noted that the legislative regulations are necessary, the need to participate in debates can even be stipulated by law.   

“In the state, which has ambitions to develop as a democratic state, the lack of debates becomes annoying. It is about the debate with the participation of the first number candidates of alliances or prime ministers. I think that if it is not voluntary basis, participation at least in one debate should be defined by law and this tradition will be fixed,” Navasardyan said.

The speaker said that in terms of the airtime, the coverage was overall balanced but not only number data should be taken into account, but also the content part. He said there are some content problems anyway.

“In terms of connotation quantity, that is, in terms of positive and negative coverage, we have an entirely different picture of the most covered parties. The Republican Party 26 positive and 47 negative, Tsarukyan Alliance 36 positive and 6 negative, Congress-APP Alliance 0 positive, 12 negative,  the ARF 16 positive and 3 negative. This means that the air time could be favorable and unfavorable for political parties and alliances, depending on what context they were presented,” Navasardyan said. 

He also added that they recorded rather alarming statistics related to the content of coverage.

“We compared the results of the monitoring of these elections with the national elections of 2012 and 2013 in the context of the connotational coverage. If in the total amount of coverage this percentage was 3.5% in 2012, even lower percentage 2.2% was recorded in 2013, the coverage was neutral on the overall campaign, this time this percentage increased reaching 6.5. This statistical data is worrisome because if we compare this with other countries, 5% is considered normal. If it is more than 5, it means that the campaign is tense, and this is reflected in the air,” Navasardyan said.  

The President of the Yerevan Press Club was concerned about the practice that the same video is used by different channels. The speaker explained the fact by the insufficiency of resources. Television stations have exchanged with the videos, with no indication which TV channel’s video they use. 

To watch the video, follow the link.  

Lilit Arakelyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to lilitarakelyan@pjc.am.

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