Centre for Civic Education (CCE) has today, within the framework of project ’SPINoFACT 3 – political advertising between spin and facts’, presented final findings of monitoring of media campaign for local elections in Podgorica which were held on 27 May 2018.
Bojana Knezevic, CCE project assistant, clarified that monitoring is related to period from 2 to 27 May 2018, namely, until 20h in the evening when the polling stations were closed. ’This monitoring encompasses qualitative and quantitative research. The total number of media releases was monitored as per type of media and as per election lists individually, accompanying with presence of election lists in media, with planned and non-planned releases, as well as the tone of campaign of holders of election lists, dominant topics in the campaign, and finally mutual attacks and criticism of political subjects’, said Knezevic. In addition, she clarified that monitoring included 17 printed and electronic media, namely five televisions i.e. – public service RTCG1, TV Vijesti, Pink M, Prva TV and A1 in the part of main informative evening shows; then all five daily newspapers – Vijesti, Dan, Pobjeda, Dnevne novine and Sloboda, as well as seven portals – Vijesti, CdM, RTCG, Analitika, Antena M, FosMedia, IN4S, while the particular segment of this monitoring represented also the monitoring of advertising of political subjects.
Zeljka Cetkovic, CCE programme associate, presented in detail the results stating ’The total number for topic Local elections – Podgorica 2018 with all three type of media amounts to 1827, of which the most on portals 46,74%, then 29,28% in printed media and 23,97% in electronic. Unlike presidential elections, positive election campaign (promotion of programme) was somewhat more present (35,85% releases) in relation to negative one (criticism of another candidate – 32, 29% releases).’
In the given period, the most releases about topic Local elections – Podgorica 2018 in media individually was at television Vijesti – 222, in daily newspaper Dan and portal Vijesti with 210 each. On the other side, the least of releases was recorded in public service RTCG (13), portal FOS Media (56) and in daily newspapers Pobjeda and Vijesti – 59. Assesing the total number of releases on elections, the far least number was on RTCG (0,71%), and the most on TV Vijesti (12,15%). In relation to space and time, a total of 1 357 459 mm2 relates to coverage of topic in printed media, i.e. 25 511 seconds in TV stations (somewhat more than 7 hours). Topic has been dedicated the most space by daily newspaper Dan (on average 2151 mm2 as per article) and on TV Vijesti (on average 58 seconds as per release).
’It is positive that these local elections were marked by local topics (46,14%). Thus, focus was on improvement of local infrastructure, improvement of healthcare, school system, social protection, sports, tourism. National topics (identity issues, crime, corruption) have had 16,58% portion. Somewhat more expressed mentioning of state issues was recorded before the start of election silence (24/25 May). Holders of election lists ’For the Good of Citizens of Podgorica – the Winning Coalition – Milo Djukanovic’, ’Aleksa Becic – Dritan Abazovic – Podgorica for XXI century’ and ’DF –SNP – Everything for my City’ have been dominantly speaking about improvement of local infrastructure, while coalitions ’Citizen’s Alliance for Changes – SDP – DEMOS’ and ’Marko Milacic – Podgorica to be Family’, mentioned state issues in significant extent in addition to local ones’, assessed Cetkovic.
Cetkovic pointed out also that ’when the total picture is analysed, the most negative media releases generated election list ’For the Good of Citizens of Podgorica – the Winning Coalition – Milo Djukanovic’ – 57,84%, while ’Socialdemocrats Ivan Brajovic – Consistently for Podgorica’ are the most positively presented (portion of positive release is 60,56%), while the ’Albanian Alternative’ has had the most neutral releases – 80,82%.’
Election list ’For the Good of Citizens of Podgorica – the Winning Coalition – Milo Djukanovic’ generated the largest number of releases (33,2%) with almost double more mentioning in relation to election list ’Podgorica for XXI Century – Democrats – URA’ which found itself on second place as per number of releases (16,04%). The least releases have had election list ‘Serbian Coalition – Dobrilo Dedeic’ (2,17). Election list ’For the Good of Citizens of Podgorica – the Winning Coalition – Milo Djukanovic’ has on average generated 41 releases on daily basis, while the list ’Podgorica for XXI Century – Democrats – URA’ had on average 20 releases, while the others were at less than 15 releases.
‘The election list ‘For the Good of Citizens of Podgorica – the Winning Coalition – Milo Djukanovic’ has had the most planned appearances in the observed period and these were portals CdM and Vijesti. This list has had also the largest number of unplanned mentioning (by other subjects) and on portals Vijesti/CdM and in daily newspapers Dan/Sloboda. More precisely, election list ‘For the Good of Citizens of Podgorica – the Winning Coalition – Milo Djukanovic’ in relation to planned media appearances in promotion of their election programme (in entirety or in larger part) has been the most active with 23%, while the election list ’Aleksa Becic – Dritan Abazovic – Podgorica for XXI Century’ was the most active in criticism – 26%. Expectedly, the opposition based a part of their campaign on criticism of the authorities and thus they generated more releases in that part’, pointed out Cetkovic.
By far the most seconds for planned appearances in news shows has gained election list ‘For the Good of Citizens of Podgorica – the Winning Coalition – Milo Djukanovic’ and on TV PinkM – 2483. Election lists ’Democratic Front –SNP – Everything for my City’, ’Citizen’s Alliance for Changes – SDP – DEMOS’, ’Socialdemocrats Ivan Brajovic – Consistently for Podgorica’ and ’Podgorica for XXI century – Democrats – URA’ have had the most second on TV Vijesti. On the other hand, the least planned appearances in electronic media have had election lists ‘Serbian Coalition – Dobrilo Dedeic’, ‘Group of Citizens – Sasa Mijovic’ and ‘Albanian Alternative’. Planned appearances of representatives of only three election lists were noted on TV PinkM.
Individually as per lists, the dominant tone of media on election lists was as follows:
’Among printed media, daily Sloboda has given the most space, 137 800 mm2, for planned appearances to election list ‘Democratic Front –SNP – Everything for my City’. Dailies Dnevne novine and Pobjeda have allocated the most space for election list ‘For the Good of Citizens of Podgorica – the Winning Coalition – Milo Djukanovic’, while Vijesti and Dan have given the most for the list ‘Podgorica for XXI century – Democrats – URA’. The least planned appearances in printed media have had election lists ‘Serbian Coalition – Dobrilo Dedeic’, ‘Group of Citizens – Sasa Mijovic’ and ‘Albanian Alternative’. Election list ’Marko Milacic – Podgorica to be Family’ did not have planned appearances in Pobjeda‘, stated Cetkovic.
Bojana Knezevic presented also results of monitoring for political marketing. ’Six political subjects have utilised advertising space in printed media. Election list ’Marko Milacic – Podgorica to be Family’ has had the most advertisements and in daily newspaper Dan – 12. ‘Coalition for XXI Century – Democrats – URA’, ‘Serbian Coalition – Dobrilo Dedeic’ and ’Socialdemocrats Ivan Brajovic – Consistently for Podgorica’ have also advertised in this this newspaper. ’The Winning Coalition – Milo Djukanovic’ has placed advertisements in Dnevne novine (7) and Pobjeda (5), coalition ’DF –SNP – Everything for my City‘ in Sloboda – 1’, said Knezevic. Citizens could see 30,14h of presentation of election lists on public service RTCG and three commercial TVs (TV Vijesti, Prva TV and Pink M) for 26 observed pre-election days via political-propaganda TV clips, as well as reports/broadcasts from promotional events. Political subjects have utilised the most their right to free presentation on RTCG, whereon 81% of clips/reports (i.e. 88 000 seconds) has been broadcasted.
When it comes to RTCG, of the total of 24,44 free-of-charge hours for political marketing, the coalition ‘For the Good of Citizens of Podgorica – the Winning Coalition – Milo Djukanovic’ has used the most the free advertisement – even as much as quarter of total seconds opting for one universal advertisement by which it was sending message to voters in Podgorica and in remaining 11 municipalities. The list ’UMNE – Goran Danilovic – Serious People for Serious City’ has applied the same strategy, and addressed the voters of four municipalities (Bijelo Polje, Kolasin, Podgorica and Golubovci). ‘Serbian Coalition – Dobrilo Dedeic’ has used the least the opportunity of free advertising with only 2%.
’Only five political subjects have advertised on commercial televisions. The election list ‘For the Good of Citizens of Podgorica – the Winning Coalition – Milo Djukanovic’ has used the most time, and advertised almost three times more in relation to other candidates together, and on TV Prva and TV PinkM in the total duration of 16446 seconds (almost 5 hours). Election list ‘Socialdemocrats Ivan Brajovic – Consistently for Podgorica’ has advertised only on TV Prva, while coalitions ’Citizen’s Alliance forCchanges – SDP – DEMOS’, ‘Coalition for XXI Century – Democrats – URA’ and ’DF –SNP – Everything for my City’ have advertised only on TV Vijesti’, siad Knezevic.
During the election silence, media had published 83 releases. “In the television content there were 19 advertisements, in printed media 15, and in portals 49 advertisements, of which 22 were related to mutual accusations and attacks during the election day”, explained Ćetković.
The project ‘SPINoFACT 3 – Political advertising between spin and facts’ aims to contribute to the promotion of good practices and improvement of the legislative framework when it comes to political advertising and presentation of election offers in the media in Montenegro. The specific project objective is improvement of cooperation between media, relevant institutions, political parties and non-governmental organisations, as well as raising awareness of the public on importance of political advertising and more quality and more objective informing citizens during election campaigns. Expert part of the research for the needs of the project was carried out by company Arhimed. The project “SPINoFACT 3 – Political advertising between spin and facts” is a continuation of projects of the same name – SPINoFACT 1 (implemented during November and December 2017 for local elections in Mojkovac, Petnjica and Cetinje, then supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) and SPINoFACT 2 (implemented during March and April 2018 for the presidential elections).
Miloš Knežević, PR/programme associate