On 7 September 2020 the coalition of civil society organisations consisting of Journalism Ethics Commission, “Human Rights Platform”, “Ukrainian Institute of Media and Communication”, “Stop Fake (Ukraine)” and association “Women in media” with the support of the Project “European Union and Council of Europe working together to support freedom of media in Ukraine” is launching the monitoring of media coverage of 2020 local elections in Ukraine.
The aim of the monitoring is to inform the society on the media coverage during the electoral campaign as well as to boost the discussion with regard to objectivity and quality of work of media on coverage of the elections and to promote their compliance with international standards and best practices on freedom of expression and independence of media. In addition, the results of the monitoring will contribute to a fairer and more impartial coverage of the electoral process in Ukraine in general, as well as to important changes and improvements in the coverage of future elections.
“This monitoring will provide the media, political candidates, international community and citizens with the criteria for assessing the fairness of the coverage of the electoral process at local level in the specific regions. It will also support the civil society in carrying out professional monitoring of media coverage of elections according to the Council of Europe recommendations and other international standards,” said Galyna Smirnova, senior officer of the Project “EU and Council of Europe working together to support media freedom in Ukraine”.
The monitoring will cover the period of 5 September – 25 October 2020. During this period 20 media monitoring specialists and 5 experts (analysts) will analyse the content of local socio-political online-media with the biggest audience in 12 regions of Ukraine, namely in Zakarpattia, Rivne, Chernivtsi, Lviv, Volyn, Chernigiv, Sumy, Zhytomyr, Vinnytsia, Kyiv regions as well as in the separate territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions which are under control of Ukrainian government.
“Social networks constitute an influential part of the media landscape nowadays and represent one of the main sources of information for voters. We are focused on Facebook because, according to research, it has a significant impact on the political processes in Ukraine, and thus on the official communication of the TOP-5 parties in each region and TOP-3 potential candidates for the position of head of the city council. Monitoring their Facebook pages will help to understand how responsibly the subjects of the electoral process use social networks, as well as to see the difference both between regions and political forces. We will also analyze the pages of TOP-10 parties and their leaders at the national level. The team will also monitor signs of external informational influence in the online media and on the Facebook pages,” – said Olga Yurkova, Co-founder of “StopFake”.
The media monitoring specialists will monitor local online-media as well as Facebook pages of political parties and their leaders at national level, profiles of key candidates for the post of majors in the regional centres and pages/profiles of the regional offices of the TOP-5 most popular parties at local level.
The monitoring will include both quantitative and qualitative analysis.
The quantitative analysis will focus on the amount of space allocated to certain political subjects, as well as on the tone in which they are covered – positive, neutral or negative. Attention will also be paid to the thematic structure of the news.
The qualitative analysis will be used to evaluate the performance of the media against such characteristics as ethical or professional standards that cannot be quantified.
In particular, media monitoring specialists will analyse the choice of issues, the omission of certain information, the appropriation of official position, the positioning of events, provocative vocabulary etc. In addition, they will evaluate the work of the media in accordance with the principles and standards enshrined in the Code of Ethics of Ukrainian Journalist. They will analyse gender aspects and identify violations of the law in terms of coverage of elections.
The Project “European Union and Council of Europe working together to support freedom of media in Ukraine” is aimed to enhance the role of media, its freedom and safety, and the public broadcaster as an instrument for consensus building in the Ukrainian society. The Project is financed by the European Union and the Council of Europe.