Aug 17, 2023

One of the major events of November 2022 was the NATO Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Bucharest on 29-30 November, where Western leaders were called to assess the implementation of NATO’s strategic concept, adopted last summer in Madrid, and to discuss how the West can help Ukraine in the war in which it has been engaged. In this analysis, we set out to find out how the given topic came to be presented by the main TV channels in Chișinău, not before a short introduction to the subject.

As a case study we chose the news coverage of the NATO Summit in Bucharest. The event is also relevant for the Republic of Moldova as our country participated as an invited party. After analysing 28 pieces of material produced by the most watched television channels in the Republic of Moldova (RM), we have pointed out cases of disinformation, manipulation and careless mistakes that contributed to the distortion of information. The monitored channels were divided into five categories, depending on how close/far they came to objective reporting of the event. No TV stations were monitored in the study that ignored the subject matter (category 1).

The categories of monitored posts:

Category 2: Those who were furthest away from the real facts and replayed propagandistic narratives or resorted to various manipulative and misinformative methods: RTR Moldova and First in Moldova (Category 2). These are also the stations whose broadcasting has been suspended as a measure to “secure the national information space”. In the case of these stations, we found a tendency towards disinformation, mostly hidden “in details”.

Category 3: Among those who admitted errors in news editing, presenting inaccurate details or admitting “oversights” that led to distorted messages: Moldova1 and TV8. Even if this time the errors do not indicate any propagandistic intent, they may influence the correct perception of the information to a greater or lesser extent.

Category 4: ProTV Chișinău, PrimeTV, NTV Moldova covered the subject relatively neutrally and fairly, without paying too much attention to it. These stations also admitted to small oversights, but these were not able to influence the main messages of the events.

Category 5: Objective reflection. JurnalTV journalists gave the most attention and broadcast time to the NATO summit in Bucharest. On one of the days of the meeting, the station devoted a package to the meeting that took up almost a third of the news bulletin. The study provided recommendations for reporters and editors to increase the quality of reporting and help counter disinformation on important issues. As with other analyses, we found the presence of a conscious editorial policy of taking over Kremlin propaganda narratives at some TV stations. In particular, this refers in this case to RTR Moldova and First in Moldova.

The study can be accessed here.

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