Final report on monitoring media coverage of elections presented
Unlike all the previous elections monitored by BAJ, both state-owned and independent media lost interest in election related subjects pretty soon after the polling.
The Monitoring group of BAJ summed up the results of the parliamentary elections coverage.
According to the Final Report, the state-owned media covered the elections in their typical low-key manner, ie they sometimes gave the elections less coverage than sport and the weather. The Central Election Commission (CEC), instead of candidates or political parties, was presented as the main actor. This fact shows that the elections were a matter of only marginal importance to the state-owned media. At the same time, their chief information source was the CEC. These media presented an all too simplistic picture of the elections, which means that they centred on the coverage of only five actors, namely the CEC (or constituency commissions), the President, the CIS observers, the OSCE observers and a depersonalised candidate.
The state-owned media focused their attention on organisational and technical details of the elections, which became a highly typical feature of their election coverage. In comparison with the state-owned media, their independent counterparts presented a wider picture of the elections. They did not limit themselves to official information, released by the CEC and the government. In some cases they were critical of these two actors and widely publicised the instances of censorship. At the same time, their manner of presentation was more balanced than that of the state-owned media. However, there was not any meaningful competition in the elections and their outcome was totally predictable. These factors accounted for obvious indifference to election coverage, displayed by the independent media.
The election scenario had not undergone any tangible change, as compared to the previous elections. This produced a situation in which the media were ‘tired of the elections’. The symptoms of ‘election fatigue syndrome’ were present in the election coverage given by both state-run and independent media. The monitoring findings at the post-election stage came as a surprise. Unlike all the previous elections monitored by BAJ, both state-owned and independent media lost interest in election related subjects pretty soon after the polling.