The CIHRS media monitoring team issued today the second report evaluating and analyzing the performance of audio and visual mass media (6 state-owned TV channels and 17 state-owned and independent newspapers) during electoral campaigns for the presidential elections ending officially the day before yesterday.
Main features of the 57-page report (in Arabic) can be summarized as follows:
First: Performance of mass media was generally biased to the NDP’s candidate. Performance of audio and visual mass media was different from state-owned and private mass media.
Second: Performance of state-owned TV channels was more fair and neutral, and less biased compared to other private channels, and also compared to their performance during the first week of electoral campaigns.
Ch.2 came on top of other channels where it only dedicated 18%, whereas Ch.3 dedicated 29%, to the NDP’s candidate, and 71% was dedicated to the rest of candidates. Nevertheless, private channels dedicated double this time to the NDP’s candidate (69% in Dream, and 41 % in Al-Mehwar). Coverage by private channels was hotter and lively, helping voters this way take an informed decision.
Third: State-owned newspapers, in particular daily ones, continued to be flagrantly biased to the ruling party’s candidate, similar to their performance during the first week of electoral campaigns. This bias reached its peak in Al-Gumhurya newspaper (75%) and was least displayed in Al-Masaa (55%) and Rose Alyoussef (53%). The latter however criticized other candidates, and even almost defamed Ayman Nour.
This continued bias was coincided by openly defending a number of people responsible for national newspapers and underestimating the majority of other candidates without explaining the political and legislative context to the readers. This undermined competition between candidates.
Fourth: Bias on the part of state-owned newspapers was not restricted to dedicating large space for the NDP’s candidate, but was also extended to include qualitative bias, i.e. employment of different forms of the journalistic craft to serve this tendency. These forms include the use of pictures, photos, fonts, the position of the piece of news or report, mixing sometimes of opinion and information in news coverage, and also dismissing of criticisms on the part of other candidates of the NDP platform or conduct while highlighting praise of prominent officials.
Fifth: Akher Sa’aa was the best national weekly newspaper, while Rose Alyoussef continued to be antagonistic toward some of the candidates in competition with the NDP’s candidate.
Sixth: AL-Masri El-Youm and Nahdet Masr independent newspapers continued to be neutral and professionally honest in covering electoral campaigns in a positive way. Their neutrality did not negatively impact the hot and lively coverage of electoral campaigns. They were also capable of attracting readers unlike other officials in the national press who applies repulsive neutrality.
Seventh: The Committee on Presidential Elections did not detect any violations. It consecrated all efforts to confrontation with the judges and human rights NGOs that are supposed to monitor elections. It announced non-respect of a judicial obliging ruling. It actually did its best to arise doubts about the credibility and transparency of tomorrow’s elections!
This post is also available in: العربية