Research of the level of access to mass media: the Lugansk oblast
The intension of elucidation of the activities of the candidates to Presidents post has increased in July in 1.5-2.7 times in comparison with the previous month. All mass media, which were monitored, paid the most attention to positive elucidation of the activities of Viktor Yanukovich. Negative information mainly concerned Viktor Yushchenko.
In July the number of newspaper publications, which elucidated the activities of the candidates to presidency increased, in compassion with June, in 2.1 times and reached (all in all, in 6 newspapers) 133, their area increased in 2.7 times and reached almost 700 thousand symbols. The duration of TV features increased in 1.5 times and reached 530 seconds. The increase of the activity mainly concerns the communal editions: in 6 times for communal newspapers and in 3 times for state regional TV stations.
The materials describing the activities of Viktor Yanukovich in the positive or neutral light occupy 65% of newspaper area, and negative materials about Viktor Yushchenko -- 11%. The advantage of the Prime Minister at the Lugansk TV is even more: here the positive information about him occupies 89% of time.
Such proportions are typical for all editions or TV channels that were monitored; the deviation from these average data is not more than 15%. None of the editions published the materials, in which the activities of V. Yanukovich were mentioned in the negative light.
The greater part of information, on the background of which the activities of the candidates to presidency were elucidated, was based on consequences of visit of Prime Minister Yanukovich to the Lugansk oblast, which took place on 22 June. After this visit the oblast obtained in July several tranches for compensation of pay arrears, as well as for financing of municipal economy, registration of candidates and forming of election headquarters. At that the mass media mostly elucidated the forming of election headquarters and actions in support of the “only candidate”.
Two TV channels, which broadcast almost on all territory of the oblast, were included to the media-monitoring: the Lugansk oblast state TV and radio company (LOSTRC) and private TV channel “IRTA”. Five features of the LOSTRC and 3 features of the channel “IRTA” were analyzed.
The regional TV channels were most energetic in positive and neutral elucidation of the activities of Viktor Yanukovich, who got as much as 89% of time. The similar information about Viktor Yushchenko, Oleksandr Moroz, Petro Simonenko and Anatoliy Kinakh almost was not given, each of them got from 4.5 to 1%.
It is noteworthy that the informational-agitation campaign at the Lugansk TV channels during this month was “white”: there were no negative materials at all.
The LOSTRC essentially increased the quantity and duration of the materials concerning the subjects of the election campaign: in May such materials lasted for 260 seconds, in June -- 1090 seconds and in July – 3170 seconds. 84% of the materials were connected with positive or neutral information about Viktor Yanukovich.
The total duration of the plots about the candidates to Presidents post at the channel “IRTA” in May-July did not change much and in July was 2130 seconds. At that 97% of the total duration concerned the activities of V. Yanukovich.
Six newspapers of social-political orientation with the largest runs were included in the media-monitoring in the Lugansk oblast: communal newspapers “Nasha gazeta” and “Zhizn Luganska”, as well as private newspapers “Luganskaya pravda”, “21 vek”, “Novy rakurs” and “Grivna plus”.
The “achievements” of the newspaper of the Lugansk town council were the most impressive: 13 materials of the total size 42300 symbols were published in four July issues, among them 95% contained the positive or neutral information about Viktor Yanukovich. The quotation from the editorial material “Viktor Yanukovichs headquarters have been opened” vividly demonstrates the tone typical for this edition: “All men of sense, who care for the future of our country, are ready to vote for Viktor Yanukovich at the coming Presidential election”. In July this newspaper became much more active in elucidation of the subjects of the monitoring (one subject, to put it more precisely): in May there was one material on the subject of monitoring (4860 symbols), in June – 4 (10600) and in July – 13 (42300). As to other subjects of monitoring, the newspaper printed only one material, reading that the Lugansk organization of the PPPU did not support the nomination of Anatoliy Kinakh, although this material did not contain negative information about Kinakh.
The essential intensification of elucidation of the activities of candidates to presidency was also characteristic for the newspaper of the Lugansk oblast council “Nasha gazeta”: in May it published only one material (9790 symbols), in June – 6 (21760), in July – 27 (153800). Among them 22 materials (72% of the total area) elucidated, positively or neutrally, the activities of Viktor Yanukovich. For instance, the material by Irina Lukashova “Fact and factor of consolidation”, which was published on 29 July, is, formally, a reportage from the meeting in the support of V. Yanukovich that was held in Lugansk on 26 July. Yet, in reality, the greatest part of the article is the authors interpretation of achievements of Yanukovich. Besides, the article ends with the hyperbolized conclusion of the author, which reads that Lugansk allegedly endorses Yanukovich. This material can be considered as use of a manipulation trick and, moreover, it directly breaks the restrictions of agitation, stipulated by law for communal mass media. The newspaper also contained several informational-analytical materials, in which the activities of other candidates – Viktor Yushchenko, Petro Simonenko and Oleksandr Moroz, were elucidated equally, but each of them got not more than 9% of area. The newspaper did not publish the materials with negative tinge about any subjects of the monitoring.
The newspaper “Luganskaya Pravda” is, formally, independent (it was founded by a labor collective), but earlier it was published by the oblast committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, so, in fact, this is the second official edition of the regional power. Like the formally communal editions, this newspaper began to write about the candidates to presidency much more actively: from 2 materials (11500 symbols) in May to 19 (106000 symbols) in July, among them 13 materials (60% of the total area) elucidated the activities of Viktor Yanukovich predominantly in positive and neutral tone. As to the neutral information on the activities of Viktor Yushchenko, Petro Simonenko and Oleksandr Moroz, its proportion is almost equal for these candidates (11, 10 and 9%, respectively); somewhat less information was published about Anatoliy Kinakh -- 5%. The information with negative sense was given about Viktor Yushchenko (5%), several small materials concerned Oleksandr Moroz and Petro Simonenko.
The newspaper “Novy rakurs” was the leader in the area of the materials devoted to the activities of candidates to Presidents post both in June and in July: four issues of this newspaper contained 29 materials (more than 200000 symbols) – 30% of the information presented by all editions. 55% of these materials elucidated the activities of Viktor Yanukovich in positive or neutral tone. As to elucidation of the activities of Viktor Yushchenko, the proportion of negative materials (24.6%) was much greater than the proportion of neutral information (16%). There were no negative materials about other subjects of the monitoring; the activities of Petro Simonenko was described positively most frequently (2%), the amount of information about Oleksandr Moroz and Anatoliy Kinakh was much less.
Another traditional leader in elucidation of the activities of candidates is the newspaper “21 vek”: 37 materials (173000 symbols) were printed in four issues of the newspaper. 17 materials described the activities of Viktor Yanukovich in positive or neutral light. Positive and neutral materials about the activities of Viktor Yushchenko occupied somewhat more place than negative materials: 13 and 10%, respectively. The newspaper “21 vek” did not publish in July any negative materials about Oleksandr Moroz, positive information about him made 9% of the total amount. As to Petro Simonenko and Anatoliy Kinakh, there were more negative materials than neutral or positive ones, but the total amount of all information about them did not exceed 1-3%.
The newspaper “Grivna plus” was rather passive in elucidation of the subjects of monitoring: four issues of this newspaper contained only 7 notes (22000 symbols). The edition did not publish a single material of negative tint. As to positive or neutral materials, the majority of them were connected with Viktor Yanukovich – 3 (57% of the total amount). Other subjects were represented almost equally: Oleksandr Moroz – 16%, Viktor Yushchenko – 11%, Anatoliy Kinakh – 10% and Petro Simonenko – 6%.
The data of the monitoring, which was conducted in July by the Lugansk branch of the VCU, demonstrate the existence of the essential discrepancy in presentation of political subjects and the amount of elucidation of these subjects. It is significant that this discrepancy is greater for communal mass media, which, in addition, has become more active in conduction of pre-election agitation. However, the presence of Viktor Yanukovich in commercial editions is also more than 55% of the area of all such materials. Besides, the Lugansk mass media published many negative materials about V. Yanukovichs competitors, using “the black PR”. Thus, we may say that the situation in the Lugansk oblast in July did not agree with the principle of equal access of subjects of election to information.
Remark: The amount of materials was calculated in typographical symbols; 100% of the total area is the area of all materials concerning all five candidates to Presidents post, concerning whom the monitoring was carried out (Yanukovich, Yushchenko, Moroz, Simonenko, Kinakh).