The following types of programs are monitored:
1. All information programs, such as the main news of the day, current affairs programs and news flashes. In the graphs these programs are represented as "News".
2. All advertising blocs, announcements, radio jingles, spots, etc. In the graphs such programs are represented as "Advert".
3. Special pre-election programs in which representatives of political parties and/or candidates participated in a regular (daily or weekly) time slot and under the same conditions, at the invitation of the radio/TV station, for the presentation to the public of their political program (free access time). All other special programs which, directly or indirectly, cover political parties/candidates, and their pre-election activities. In the graphs such programs are categorized as "Special".
4. All other programs which, directly or indirectly, cover political parties/candidates, and their pre election activities. This may be entertainment programming, quiz shows, sport, music, cookery etc. These broadcasts are categorized in the graphs as "Others".
For each item in the program, the length of the item in seconds and the tone of the item (positive/negative/neutral) are noted.
In the print media, each issue of newspapers’ articles relating to the political parties and presidential/vice-presidential candidates, or the activities of government functionaries are monitored.
The categories used for print media monitoring are: news (articles), adverts, opinion (where there is a clear intent to provide editorial comment or expert and general opinion by opinion articles) and image (photographs, cartoons). For each category, the number of square centimeters is calculated, together with the tone (/negative/neutral/positive). The tone is determined in the same way as for electronic media.
Analysis of the tone
Clear criteria have been established for the monitors’ definition of positive, negative and neutral coverage. The definitions are straightforward because this is the most subjective area of monitoring:
Negative: where the media company/journalist is clearly biased against the candidate/party; where the candidate/party is criticized.
Neutral: where information is presented in an unbiased way; there is no discernable tone.
Positive: where the media company/journalist is clearly biased in favor of the candidate/party; where the candidate/party is praised.
It is important to mention that the tone of political candidates/parties about themselves or others is not what is being monitored, but rather the manner in which the media provides them with a platform. If, for example, a journalist asks a critical question -- this does not necessarily make a program negative in content. It is part of the job of a journalist to ask difficult questions of political candidates. However, should the tone of the journalists’ questions be monotonously critical and even insulting, then the interview could be considered to be “negative”. Similarly, interviews or opportunities given to parties/candidates in a flattering style by journalists/editors/producers should be categorized as "positive".
After collating the data for the duration of the observation mission, it will be used to show what the overall share of election coverage was on each channel or publication selected for monitoring. This will form the basis for a quantitative analysis of the media performance during the elections.
Graphic presentation of the data
The graphic presentation of the coverage of political parties/coalitions/independent candidates is given separately for each radio/TV station and newspaper. The graphs show how many seconds in total, in the monitored period, political parties/ candidates were given in the categories "News", "Advert", "Special" and "Others", or how many square centimeters were allocated to the said parties/candidates in the daily papers monitored.
The graphs thus illustrate the degree of access to the media which political parties / coalitions / independent candidates received during the monitored period.
The graphic presentation of the distribution of negative, neutral and positive references to political parties/coalitions/independent candidates is given for each radio/TV station and newspaper separately.
Tables are filled out by monitors and then the data is transferred into excel tables to make the graphs. Put together in graph form, this will eventually indicate which party/candidate had which amount of time and what the tone of the coverage was.