ArmInfo. Yerevan Press Club has published an interim report on the monitoring of the Armenian media in the pre-election promotion period of the upcoming snap elections to the RA National Assembly.
According to the message received by ArmInfo, the research was made through the support of IMS (International Media Support) from June 7 to June 12 .The content of this report is the sole responsibility of Yerevan Press Club and do not necessarily reflect the views of IMS.
OBJECTIVES OF THE MONITORING are to define and determine through analyzing quantitative and qualitative data:
-the level of attention of the media of Armenia to the June 20, 2021 snap elections to the RA National Assembly;
-the level of balanced presentation of various positions of the political forces participating in the snap parliamentary elections; how free and impartial the media were in informing the voters of the parties/blocs running in elections to the RA National Assembly, ensuring their access to media to express their views and opinions, thus assisting the voters in making an independent and conscious choice;
-how compliant the media were with the legislative provisions, regulating the coverage of the pre-election promotion;
-how actively the media touched upon the post-election situation and reflected the spectrum of assessments of the electoral process.
In order to fulfil the objectives mentioned above the monitoring included quantitative and quantitative-qualitative study methods. The quantitative methods were limited to purely arithmetical calculations of units and volume of broadcast content. Quantitative- qualitative methods were based on the calculations of content units, subjected to certain analysis by the monitoring team.
MONITORING OF ARMENIAN BROADCAST MEDIA coverage of the June 20, 2021 snap elections to the RA National Assembly, carried out by Yerevan Press Club, covered all 6 Armenian national TV channels (First Channel of Public Television of Armenia, ATV, "Armenia", "Yerkir Media", "Kentron" and "Shant") and the Public Radio of Armenia.
The study is implemented in three stages: the period preceding the official pre-election promotion (May 31 - June 6, 2021), the official campaign (June 7-18, 2021) and the postelection period (from the closing of polling stations on June 20 to June 27, 2021). The current report presents the results of the first half of the second of the mentioned stages - from June 7 to 12, 2021 (see below the monitoring methodology).
As in the first report (May 31 - June 6, 2021), the monitoring team highlights that the severity of the political struggle and the unprecedented number of political forces participating in the elections (26) resulted in active coverage of the campaign by the media. The withdrawal of "Armenian Eagles: United Armenia" party from the pre- election campaign did not change anything in this sense.
According to the source, THE COMPARISON OF THE TRENDS at the first and second stages of the study allows to re-emphasize the importance of clear legislative regulation of the work of broadcast media during the pre-election period. Starting from June 7 - when the provision of equal conditions to all the political forces participating in the elections is mandatory - the coverage of the studied TV and radio channels became much more balanced than in the previous period. However, the limited access of a number of political forces to air for a long time, including after the announcement of the elections, can hardly be compensated in 12 days of the pre-election promotion, even if balanced coverage will be ensured in that period. As it has been repeatedly noted for several years in the Yerevan Press Club media studies the mentioned circumstance requires the spread of the principles of coverage of election campaigns for a longer period than 12 days of official campaigning, as it happens during snap elections.
IN THE PERIOD COVERED BY THE CURRENT REPORT, from among the national broadcasters the First Channel of Public Television and "Yerkir Media" showed the greatest attention to the elections. The aggregate volume of airtime allocated by these two broadcasters to the coverage of the election campaign was almost two times higher than the corresponding aggregate indicator of the other five studied TV and radio channels. "Kentron" and "Shant" TV channels can be included in the second group in terms of the level of activity in the coverage of elections (hereafter for the quantitative results of the monitoring see the attached tables).
At the same time, in comparison with the results of previous similar studies by Yerevan Press Club, a certain change should be noted in the work on the coverage of the elections by "Kentron" TV company. If before it used to compete with "Yerkir Media" in terms of the intensity of coverage, this time it shows comparatively less attention to the campaign. In addition, if in previous years, the particular focus of "Kentron" was "Prosperous Armenia" party associated with the TV channel, now, according to the indicators of the first six days SNAP PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS 2021 3 of the election campaign, the clear front-runner here - both in terms of volume and frequency of coverage - is "Civil Contract" party. The indicators of "Armenia" bloc and the "Republic" party are almost similar to those of "Prosperous Armenia". Three other national broadcasters - "Armenia", ATV and the Public Radio lag significantly behind in terms of attention to the current election campaign, and with a few exceptions limited themselves at the current stage of the study to news coverage of the elections.
AS POSITIVE TRENDS in the coverage of the current election campaign, recorded by the YPC monitoring team both from the beginning of the study and during the six days covered by the current report the following can be noted:
Since June 7, there has been a sharp reduction of attention to the representatives of "Civil Contract" holding various leading government positions, without specifying their party affiliation. This presumably indicates the refusal of the studied media to conduct covert propaganda in favor or to the detriment of the ruling political force.
The content of the pieces of the studied broadcasters does not give any good reason to talk about the abuse of administrative resources in the course of the current campaign to influence the media sphere. And this despite the fact that local election observers give a lot of evidence of the abuse of administrative resources in organizing various kinds of pre-election events.
The pre-election debates, organized by both the Public Television and the national private TV channels, despite some incidents, are proceeding in a much more constructive manner and with a greater disposition to observe certain principles of political culture than the events within the framework of the pre-election promotion.
In the programmes of the studied broadcasters, there were almost no episodes where children were used for election campaign purposes. However, judging by the videos disseminated in the online media and social networks, the participants of the pre-election race and, in particular, "Civil Contract" party, use such techniques quite often at meetings with the public, especially in the regions of Armenia
THE NOTED TRENDS allow the YPC monitoring team to make a preliminary conclusion that the media component of the pre-election campaign, and first of all the activities of the national broadcasters are more in line with the Armenian legislation and international standards than the election campaign as a whole.
The full text of the report can be found at the following link: https://arminfo.info/files/2021_rus.pdf