About whom and about what is news silent before the elections January-February 2019
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About Detector Media NGO monitoring methodology
Non-governmental organization Detector Media surveys TV content using two types of analysis methodologies: qualitative and qualitative-quantitative.
1. Monitoring, based on qualitative analysis, is carried out continuously; the results are published weekly in the form of analytical reviews. In such a way, we analyze:
- main newscasts (prime time) of central TV channels (Ukraine, 1+1, Inter, ICTV, STB, Channel 5, UA: Pershyi and Channel 112)
- the summarizing weekly news casts on the TV channels Ukraine, 1+1, Inter, ICTV, ZIK and Channel 5
- Political talk shows "Svoboda Slova" [Freedom of speech] (ІСТV), "Pravo na vladu" [Right to power] (1+1), "Puls" [Pulse] (Channel 112), "Ukrayinskyi Format" [Ukrainian format] (NewsOne), "Narod proty" [People are against] (ZIK), "Echo Ukrainy" [Echo of Ukraine] (Pryiamyi).
- coverage of Ukrainian topics in political talk shows on Russian TV channels.
Once every two months we also publish analytical reports on:
- coverage of Ukrainian subjects in various Russian mass media, including printed media
- the penetration of Russian propaganda into Ukrainian media
The subject of the Ukrainian TV channels content survey is gross violations of standards, materials with signs of advertorials, the so-called "materials of official nature", that is, protocol coverage of official events without informational reasons; manipulations, misinformation, and concealing important facts and comments. Concerning news, we also record many other parameters in the database: compliance with all standards, geography of coverage, mentioning of candidates, tone, presence of expert opinion, etc. Following the results of the election campaign, Detector Media NGO will provide a detailed analysis of the news according to various parameters.
Based on the analysis of the informational content of Ukrainian TV channels, every week, we prepare an operational analytical summary - "Election Detector". In it, in addition to the monitoring results, we take into account the observations of our analysts over the media space of Ukraine and Russia in various formats. In these summaries, we accumulate all the main events taking place in the information space in connection with the elections.
The expert team of the Monitoring and Analytical Center of Detector Media NGO: Otar Dovzhenko, Zoya Krasovska, Yaroslav Zubchenko, Maryna Dovzhenko, Oleksandr Krumin.
2. Detector Media NGO (formerly Telekrytyka NGO) has been conducting quantitative-qualitative surveys of compliance with standards in TV news since 2003 with different periodicity. Since 2017, a study has been conducted during one week every three months. The author of the research is Ihor Kulias. Detailed results can be found in the "Monitoring/Daily TV news" section at on the MediaSapiens website. All reports of this type of monitoring come out under the general title "What the news was silent about..."
Monitoring of TV news which is based on qualitative-quantitative analysis is a deep and thorough research that reveals signs of advertorial and censorship, as well as cases of concealing information important for the public.
The two types of methodology used for assessing compliance with the standards in the monitoring of Detector Media NGO are based on six basic standards of journalism: promptness, balance of opinions, separation of facts from comments, reliability (references to sources), accuracy and completeness. The peculiarities of the application of these standards for various television content genres are detailed in the Monitoring Methodology by Igor Kulias and Otar Dovzhenko.
Materials with signs of advertorial or censorship: qualitative-quantitative analysis
On February 4-10, 2019, Detector Media NGO conducted another wave of the "What News was Silent about" survey. This is a qualitative-quantitative survey of the materials devoted to socio-political topics in the major newscasts of all-Ukrainian TV channels 1+1, Inter, Ukraine, ICTV, STB, Channel 5 and UA:Pershyi which defines materials with signs of advertorial or censorship and cases of concealing important information for the public.
Here is a brief summary of the results.
During the surveyed week, the channels Inter and Ukraine broadcasted – in comparison – the most materials with violation of standards which may indicate advertorial or censorship: 35 and 26 respectively. These two TV channels have ranked first according to this indicator for the third year already. In comparison with the previous monitoring in November 2018, the number increased slightly (then, there were 31 and 23 materials respectively).
Third place was taken by ICTV (19 materials). On this channel, the indicator increased significantly compared to November (there were 11 materials then).
We see a sharp increase in the number of materials with signs of advertorial in news on STB (12 per week, while there were 2 before) and on 1+1 (11, while there were 4 before). On Channel 5, the number of suspicious materials during the surveyed week, on the contrary, decreased compared with November from 8 to 2. On UA: Pershyi such materials were not noticed by the monitoring.
The increase on ICTV and STB is connected with the fact that digests of PR campaigns by presidential candidates appeared in the news. On 1+1 it is connected with the increase in the number of unbalanced negative materials, aimed mainly against Petro Poroshenko.
Often, standards of balance of opinions (the position of only one party to the conflict is provided), completeness (the material contains not all important facts, details, points of view) and separation of the facts from the comments (journalists substitute facts by their own judgments) are violated in such materials.
The largest amount of materials with signs of advertorial which are kept positive for the authorities was on Ukraine (15), ICTV (10) and Inter (8). Mostly these are the materials of official nature about Petro Poroshenko and Volodymyr Hroisman. The most negative materials concerning the government were shown on Inter (18) and 1+1 (7).
Most suspicious materials - which are positive for the opposition - were shown on Inter (19) and Ukraine (17).
Whose interests are promoted in news on television
Most of the materials with signs of advertorial are the so-called "materials of official nature" (the reports of official events that do not have news value) or unbalanced comments by politicians and officials.
The most of such materials were about Yulia Tymoshenko: 26 materials on five channels (except Channel 5 and UA:Pershyi).
In the second place is Petro Poroshenko: 22 materials on five channels (except 1+1 and UA:Pershyi).
He was followed by Oleksandr Vilkul (15 materials on Ukraine, ICTV and STB), Volodymyr Hroisman (15 materials on all except UA:Pershyi), Oleh Lyashko (11 materials on Inter and Ukraine), Yuriy Boyko (7 materials on Inter), Anatoliy Hrytsenko (6 materials on Ukraine, ICTV and STB).
By promoting presidential candidates, TV channels did not forget about the parties' brands that will compete in parliamentary elections in the autumn. 17 positive materials were devoted to Batkivshchyna party, 12 to Opposition Platform – For Life, 9 to Radical Party of Lyashko, and 5 to Opposition Bloc party.
There were no negative materials directed against specific presidential candidates in the news. Among the materials with signs of advertorial which were negatively toned against their main protagonist, most often were news criticizing the current authorities in general in a non-personified way (15), Naftogaz of Ukraine (7), the Cabinet of Ministers, the Ministry of Health and Ulyana Suprun (6 each of the both). 5 negative materials were devoted to Petro Poroshenko, but it is worth remarking that he is also the current president. Three other materials were directed against the Petro Poroshenko Bloc party (Inter and 1+1), and one against the Presidential Administration (1+1).
Concealing important topics, events, facts and opinions
Most cases of concealing were detected on ICTV (57), Ukraine (56), and Inter (54). STB and UA:Pershyi had the same quantity of 50 cases of concealing; 1+1 and Channel 5 had 48 cases each. Compared to November 2018, the total number of cases of concealing has doubled. This can be explained by the fact that the campaigning PR, "materials of official nature" and hidden advertising of candidates played in the newscasts an important role for the public.
General tendencies of election coverage by central TV channels: on the basis qualitative and qualitative-quantitative analysis by Detector Media NGO
Leaders and Anti-Leaders. Channels with the least amount of political PR in the news are UA:Pershyi, Channel 5 and STB. Public Television (UA:Pershyi) almost does not cover the election campaign in news: the candidates are named aversely, their actions, statements, biographies and programs are not analyzed. On Channel 112, the news is relatively clean, but it is compensated by violations in other programs. In order to record these violations, Detector Media began to monitor the prime time of six information channels, the first results of which will be published in the first decade of March.
Inter, Ukraine and ICTV have the most of the election campaigning PR. On 1+1, there is comparatively not much of positive PR (mostly these are materials about Volodymyr Zelenskyi), but more often there is black PR and unbalanced criticism, aimed mainly at Petro Poroshenko and his political force.
Favorites and "poor cousins" of news on TV channels. Candidates are presented in the news of the central TV channels very unevenly. There are "candidates of one channel": Yuriy Boyko, the leader of the Opposition Platform- For Life, appears daily in information programs on Inter, and to a lesser extent, on Channel 112 and NewsOne, but is never shown differently than in negative context on Ukraine. Inter ignores Oleksandr Vilkul, a former ally of Boyko in the Opposition Bloc, but he is promoted by Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelenskyi is often shown on 1+1, but he rarely gets to the news of other channels and only in connection with scandals or sociological surveys. Oleksandr Shevchenko and Viktor Bondar also appear only on 1+1.
The most aggressive promotion of "own" candidates is on Inter (Yuriy Boyko) and on Ukraine (Oleh Lyashko and Oleksandr Vilkul). These candidates appear in the news of these channels practically every day; they comment on any topics, come to the studio for interviews every week or even several times per week.
Almost half of the candidates have never been mentioned in the prime time news of TV channels surveyed by Detector Media in February. Some candidates are mentioned in the news of the central TV channels almost never, although they have political importance. The examples are Andriy Sadovyi, Ruslan Koshulynskyi, Oleksandr Moroz, and Roman Bezsmertny. However, they are all invited to the talk shows of mainly information channels (Channel 112, NewsOne, ZIK, Priamyi, some of them are on the talk shows on 1+1).
Yulia Tymoshenko is present in news on almost all TV channels: by number of times mentioned in general and materials with signs of advertorial, she is only behind Petro Poroshenko, and during some weeks she is ahead of him. On Channel 5, which belongs to Poroshenko, Yulia Tymoshenko is mentioned occasionally and only neutrally, in the context of covering current events, and on UA:Pershyi she is almost never mentioned. Mostly, Tymoshenko gets in the news with election promises, more rarely, when she criticizes the authorities, but not Petro Poroshenko personally.
Candidate with special status. According to the "many candidates, one president" tactics, Petro Poroshenko does not campaign, but all television channels except UA:Pershyi, mention him as the current head of state. Even 1+1 – channel that is the most critical of Poroshenko – cannot ignore official events such as his speech at the Munich Security Conference or meeting with leaders from other states. Usually, messages about Poroshenko come in the format of the so-called materials of official nature: minimum of useful information, quotes full of pathos, absence of other opinions.
By the number of mentions in news (of varying tonality), Poroshenko traditionally is in the first place among the candidates. For example, during the week of February 11-17, the most mentioned candidates were Petro Poroshenko (36 mentions, including 20 positive and one negative) and Yulia Tymoshenko (22 mentions, 18 of them positive). Behind were Oleksandr Vilkul (16 mentions, 15 of them positive), Oleh Lyashko (13 mentions, 10 positive), Yuriy Boyko (8 mentions, 5 positive and one negative), Illia Kyva (8 mentions, 1 positive), Volodymyr Zelenskyi (7 mentions, including 5 positive), Anatoliy Hrytsenko (6 mentions, including 4 positive), Valentyn Nalyvaichenko (4 mentions, all positive) and Serhiy Kaplin (2 mentions, both positive). Andriy Sadovyi, Serhiy Taruta and Oleksandr Shevchenko were mentioned positively once each. 24 out of 44 candidates were not mentioned at all during the week.
The candidate with the highest rating – Volodymyr Zelenskyi – has not participated in a single political talk show since the beginning of the election campaign. He is almost not mentioned in the news of TV channels, except for 1+1. The People's Servant party is also not represented in the information formats of Ukrainian television. Only recently, political technologist Dmytro Rozumkov started representing it in some talk shows. Thus, we have the phenomenon of an election campaign by one of the most high-ranked candidates led practically only in entertainment genres (movies, Quarter 95 humorous programs, etc.) on television and in cinemas, as well as through social networks and outdoor advertising. This can be considered the main phenomenon of the current election campaign.
Open buffet in the news. With the start of the election campaign, ICTV, STB, Ukraine and Inter launched a new format of PR-digest. This is a cut of short messages with campaign statements, election promises or episodes from the life of the candidate. There is practically the same set of candidates every day: Oleksandr Vilkul, Oleh Lyashko, Anatoliy Hrytsenko, Yulia Tymoshenko, Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, as well as "own" candidates – Serhiy Taruta on Ukraine, Yuriy Boyko and Serhiy Kaplin on Inter. These are PR messages of the format which is the same for all: a few sentences by an off-screen voice and a quote. They never have balance of opinions or additional information. By form and content, this is an advertisement, not news.
Toxic sociology. The most dangerous of the violations of standards recorded by Detector Media monitoring is the manipulation with ratings. They come in four types:
1. False interpretation of survey results. Example: "Poroshenko outran Tymoshenko," when the gap between them is within the limits of statistical error. This happens on different TV channels and can be both deliberate manipulation and a consequence of journalists' unprofessionalism.
2. Investigations of questionable organizations, which were ordered by somebody unknown. They are always beneficial to the candidate that is being promoted by the TV channel. These are practiced by Inter, Ukraine and 1+1.
3. Figures - for example, regional - taken out of their context: "Boyko is in the first place in the Odesa region", and data from all over Ukraine remain unvoiced. This is most often practiced by Inter.
4. Concealing research by respected organizations: KIIS, Democratic Initiatives, Razumkov Center. Since the ranking has been headed by Volodymyr Zelenskyi, almost all began to ignore them, except for 1+1.
Talk shows are not for everyone. There is no balance in participants from the authorities, from the conditional pro-Russian and pro-European opposition and independent experts in the talk shows of all TV channels. The quotas of talk show participants are formed according to the political interests of TV channel owners. The candidate with the highest rating – Volodymyr Zelenskyi – has not participated in a single political talk show since the beginning of the campaign. Petro Poroshenko participated only in the "Freedom of speech" on ICTV in a format suitable for him, in which only his supporters were in the studio. Yulia Tymoshenko, Oleksandr Vilkul and Anatoliy Hrytsenko used the same format on this TV channel. The talk show called "Pravo na vladu" [Right to power] on the 1+1 channel has a wider range of participants (Hrytsenko, Tymoshenko, Vilkul, Oleh Lyashko, Andriy Sadovyi and others), but there is traditionally a lack of government representatives. The main emphasis of the talk shows on Channel 112 and on NewsOne is made on promotion of the Opposition Platform - For Life political brand and of Viktor Medvedchuk personally.
The positive trend is a smaller amount of black PR in news than it was during the election campaigns before the Revolution of Dignity. However, there is black PR in entertainment and infotainment content, animation, and digital: for example, "Zashkvareni" cartoon on Priamyi, films about Tymoshenko and Sadovy on ZIK or about Zelensky on Priamyi.
We do not see signs of centralized censorship by the state, but we see everywhere the restrictions that owners and their political allies set for newscasts and talk shows. These restrictions are different on different channels, so it looks like pluralism in the general TV landscape. But the viewer of a separate TV channel always sees a deliberately distorted picture.
Most of the candidates mentioned in the newscasts of the majority of the channels are mentioned either in the PR (or adverse publicity) format or not at mentioned at all. At the same time, the choice of those who are told about is clearly influenced by the agreements and interests of the owner. Firstly, this is bad for the public, who must understand the pros and cons of those whom they elect. Secondly, it creates an unfair advantage for one candidate, who everyone wants to show, because he is the current president.
The non-aggression pact between Poroshenko and the main TV channels is working. It extends to the channels of Medvedchuk: there, Poroshenko is shown in news in format of materials of official nature and never criticized, although criticism may be in studio interviews, authorial programs and talk shows. Most of all, Poroshenko's PR is present in the news on Ukraine and Inter, and open criticism is only on 1+1. The problem is that Poroshenko appears everywhere as the current head of state, not as a candidate, and practically he does not campaign. The other side of the medal is the ignorance of the president in the news of the Public Broadcaster. In the three weeks of February UA:Pershyi mentioned Poroshenko only 4 times.
Zelenskyi, the candidate with the highest rating, does not enter into communication with either other candidates or journalists (except for the loyal 1+1). He does not hold press conferences, does not participate in political talk shows, he held a closed congress, he does not delegate – with a few exceptions – representatives of his team to television programs. His campaign is virtual and unfolds in the field of show business and social networks. A person who is known to the society by nothing else except for the scenic image and content well-calculated for attraction of electorate through social networks has a chance to become the president.
The talk shows do not serve as a public debate for candidates or their representatives. The format which the candidates agree to is an hour of the self-advertisement at the microphone and half an hour of questions from loyal experts in the audience. Such a format, in particular, is offered to them by "Svoboda Slova" [Freedom of speech] on ICTV. We can see balance of the invited conditional representatives of the authorities, the pro-Russian opposition, the pro-European opposition and independent experts on no of the talk shows. In the three talk shows on Medvedchuk's channels, the same people are present on a weekly basis. They promote not even Yuriy Boyko, but Medvedchuk himself and Opposition Platform - For Life, and they criticize the government in general – sometimes very harshly and manipulatively – without personalization, with few exceptions.
The most dangerous violation of the standards in the news is the manipulation with ratings to create the visibility of the popularity of "own" candidates or hide their failures. Ukraine, Inter and 1+1 neglect the survey results of respectable sociological companies and report on surveys of questionable organizations. Sometimes, the figures are pulled out of context or misinterpreted. And since the time when Zelenskyi has been leading the ratings, almost all channels began to conceal them. Election and media legislation should set requirements for the publication of the results of sociological surveys.
On Channel 112 and on NewsOne, sometimes on Inter and 1+1, the theses of Russian and pro-Russian propaganda are spread. For example, regarding the alleged interference of the authorities in the affairs of the church in connection with the provision of the tomos to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and regarding the alleged total economic crisis in Ukraine. These TV channels are now constantly spreading another thesis of Russian propaganda – regarding the alleged falsification of the presidential election results.
"YA TAK DUMAYU" [I THINK SO] WITH RUSLAN KOTSABA (05.01) (I have a presentiment that a lot of blood will be spilled because of tomos)
"KHRONOLOGIYA DNIA" [CHRONOLOGY OF THE DAY] WITH VYACHESLAV PIKHOVSHEK (03.01) (US continues to interfere with the internal life of Ukraine).
"Khronologiya nedeli" [Chronology of the week] with Pikhovshek 20.01.19
Time of broadcast: Jan 20, 2019, 21:04
Source: TC NewsOne
MODERATOR: On the next day, but to this topic. "The bill "On Amendments to Some Laws of Ukraine on the Subordination of Religious Organizations and the Procedure for State Registration of Religious Organizations with the Status of a Legal Person" passed by the Verkhovna Rada threatens with asset-grabbing, seizing the property of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the split of society," said Viktor Medvedchuk, Opposition Platform – For life. Another quote from this statement.
"The consequences of such actions by the government are obvious. Instead of unity and reconciliation, we get a new round of confrontation in the society, hatred and aggression," said Viktor Medvedchuk, Opposition Platform – For life. "By adopting a law discriminatory of the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the government ruthlessly violated the right to freedom of thought and religion, which is guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine. And, in fact, by such a decision it legitimized of persecution and witch hunt against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which could become the basis for national reconciliation, which could unite people both in the west and in the east, in the north and in the center, and in the south of the country". End of quote...
About the alleged falsification of election results in Ukraine:
HOW VOTERS ARE BRIBED IN UKRAINE: CAROUSEL VOTING, FAMILY CONTRACTS AND OPERATION "BUCKWHEAT" – REVIEW OF SCHEMES AND FALSIFICATION (The population census is not carried out, because its results may turn out to be politically toxic and shocking for the country. And its absence creates prerequisites for falsifications, since there are no exact data on the number of citizens in the country. This opinion was expressed by political scientist Andrei Zolotarev in the comments for NEWSONE.ua)
KARASEV ABOUT OBSERVERS FROM THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION AT ELECTIONS: WE NEED TO SHOW THE RUSSIANS HOW WE CAN HOLD THE ELECTIONS, AND WE ARE AFRAID OF SOMETHING (Maybe, on the contrary, we will show the Russians how we can hold elections? What should we hide? What are we afraid of? That we will have falsifications or that they will make a wrong report?)
MEDVEDCHUK: MASS FALSIFICATIONS SHOULD BE EXPECTED ON FUTURE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS (The refusal of the Foreign Ministry to accept applications for registration of Russian observers, the decision of the Supreme Court to recognize the CEC’s discriminatory ruling on the deprivation of millions of Ukrainians residing in the Russian Federation of voting rights is a path to massive falsifications during the elections)
Often, quotes from NewsOne and Channel 112 are later used by Russian mass media.
Regarding the economic situation:
On January 31, "Rossiyskaya Gazeta" in the material called Ukrainian ex-minister predicted the country economic collapse without Russia referred to the program with Yevhen Chervonenko on NewsOne.
On February 4, "Rossiyskaya Gazeta" re-printed the messages of Yevhen Chervonenko said on Channel 112 under the title "In Ukraine, they told about the "deception of the West": Former Ukrainian Transport Minister in Yulia Tymoshenko’s cabinet – Yevhen Chervonenko – called promises of the country's imminent joining of the EU and NATO to be “windbaggery”. According to the politician, by refusing to integrate with the Eurasian Economic Union, Kyiv was thus left with nothing.”
On February 9, now "Moskovskiy Komsomolets" quoted Yevhen Chervonenko in "Ukrainian pilots and aircraft designers fled to Russia" as evidence of a deep socio-economic crisis in Ukraine.
On February 21, "Izvestiya" referred to a comment by Mykhailo Pohrebinskyi to TV Channel NewsOne "Expert told about the deplorable state of Ukraine": “Founder and director of the Kyiv Center for Political Studies and Conflictology – Mykhailo Pohrebinskyi – stated that after the 2014 coup, Ukraine had lost hundreds of industries, and had received nothing in return. He told about this on February 20 on the TV channel NewsOne.”
Interview with Yuri Boyko, founder of Opposition Platform - For Life
Time of broadcast: Feb 20, 2019 20:00
Oleksiy LIKHMAN, host: All have only elections in their eyes. It is almost two months left to the presidential election. There is a lot of time, but news on bribery, bribery, and bribery are the top topics. What do you think? Will this bribery be decisive in the upcoming elections? And how serious can the pressure of law enforcement agencies on representatives of the opposition – opponents of the government – be?
Yuri BOYKO, founder of Opposition Platform - For Life. I believe that, firstly, the attempts of falsification which we see and these preparations are a very dangerous phenomenon for our country. Because society is in such a state that even an attempt to falsify can lead to an unpredictable scenario: up to the collapse of the country.
People's deputies allowed illegal seizure of property of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Time of broadcast: Jan 19, 2019 20:13
Kateryna Lysenko, host: By adopting amendments to the laws on the subordination of religious organizations and their registration, the members of parliament actually allowed illegal seizing of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church property," stated Viktor Medvedchuk, on the official page of the Opposition Platform - For Life. He believes that this can increase the split in society. According to him, by adopting a law discriminatory of the faithful, the parliamentary majority violated constitutional right to freedom of religion, and, in fact, legitimized the persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the statement of the politician says.
No one doubts that these elections will beat all records on the scale of manipulation and fraud.
Time of broadcast: Feb 12, 2019 22:45
Oleksandr DUBINSKYI, presenter: No one doubts that these elections will beat all records on the scale of manipulation and fraud. The register of voters now includes nearly 3 million extra people. Some people find their last names on the lists in 3 variants, for example, Dubinskyi Dubynskyi, Dubitsky under the same address. And some people are waiting in line for the second time to get material aid from the authorities. "Hroshi" prepared a list of key manipulations that will be used to try to steal your vote. Watch and save it for yourself and for Ukraine.
The production of this monitoring report became possible thanks to the support of the American people, provided through the USAID "Media Program in Ukraine" project implemented by the international organization Internews. The content of the materials is solely the responsibility of the Detector Media non-governmental organization and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the US government and Internews.
Data from monitoring supported by DANIDA and SIDA were also used.