Coverage of the Press Conferences on RA Constitutional Amendments and December 6, 2015 Referendum Given by Representatives from Political Parties and Public Figures via TV Companies Broadcasting Throughout the Republic and in the Capital

From October 26 until December 27 of 2015, the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression conducted a monitoring of the coverage by TV companies broadcasting throughout the republic and in the capital of the press conferences given by political and public figures related to the RA constitutional amendments and December 6, 2015 referendum. The monitoring consisted of two stages: the first was conducted during the campaign – from October 26 until December 4, and the second was from December 7 until December 27.

The goal of the monitoring was: a) to identify the level of interest/attention by TV companies broadcasting throughout the republic and in the capital towards the press conferences by representatives of various political parties, as well as by public figures (experts, analysts, etc.) during the period of the campaign of the referendum for the draft of the constitutional changes, as well as after the December 6 referendum, b) to study and evaluate the equivalence and impartiality of the coverage of press conferences while they are on air.

According to the methodology, the members of the monitoring group, when visiting the press clubs in the capital, recorded the presence of the shooting teams of the TV companies at the given press conference. Then the presence or absence of materials from the visited press conference during the main (evening) news program of that TV Company was studied. If available, the way of coverage was also recorded in a special form: with or without (“mute” quote, out-of-shot author’s text) the soundbite from the main speakers, with or without author’s (or other) comments.      

Along with that, we have analyzed the contents of the packages and the reportages, i.e. the attitude of the speaker at the press conference to the constitutional amendments, whose opinion he/she expresses, whether the opinion was his/her personal or of a collective (party, organization), the attitude of the author of the reportage/package to the approach of the speaker at the press conference, whether it is positive (+), negative (-), neutral (0), presence or absence of another (opposite) opinion in the package shot outside the scope of that press conference.

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