Media Plan, an independent, non-partisan organization dedicated to freedom of expression and the media, has been systematically monitoring the media coverage of the October general elections. Media Plan seeks to evaluate the monitored media’s performance in providing objective and balanced coverage of the contestants and their platforms so the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina can make well-informed choices at the ballot box. The main objective of the project is to inform the public about the conduct of media during the pre-election campaign and to initiate a discussion about the objectivity and quality of the media reporting. The project is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the UK Government, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the European Union.
The findings will be compiled in four monitoring reports about the media’s behavior during the election campaign and are to be disseminated to the public, media, civil society, political parties, and international community. The methodology was developed by the Slovak media-monitoring organization MEMO 98. The first monitoring report covering the period 1-14 September can be found here. Following is the summary of the main monitoring findings covering the period 15 – 28 September:
- The media continue to provide voters with a diverse range of information about contestants and other political subjects.
- Regular televised debates have enabled candidates to convey their messages to the electorate. These debates provided an important forum for exchanging views, allowing voters to form opinions of the candidates.
- Monitored broadcast media have covered daily campaign developments in special election programs (Election Chronicles) while news programs, available to a larger audience, offered only limited coverage of campaigns.
- News programs focused on coverage of governments and state officials, many of whom were also candidates in the elections. This has given them an advantage over their opponents who have not been covered so extensively in the news programs.
- Some monitored outlets continue to show their open sympathies towards particular political subjects.
- While some media try to provide a more analytical coverage of the campaign, there continues to be a general lack of in-depth coverage that could help the voters to better analyze and assess the qualities and programs of electoral contestants.