The Ombudsman in the Media
The NGO Infocentre, in cooperation with the Helsinki Committee of Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia, under the auspices of the Project “Civic Monitoring of the Office of the Ombudsman” supported by the U.S. Embassy in Skopje, monitored the media reporting on the work of the Ombudsman in the period from November 1 to December 15, 2016.
The monitoring covered 12 media outlets: the primetime daily newscasts and websites of TV stations 24 Vesti TV, Telma TV, Sitel TV and public service broadcaster MRT1; daily newspapers “Utrinski vesnik”, “Sloboden pečat”, “Dnevnik” and “Večer” and their websites; and news websites A1on.mk, Plusinfo.mk, Republika.mk and Kurir.mk.
The qualitative and quantitative analysis focused on the news articles and reports dedicated to the Ombudsman and the work of his office. For the purposes of this report, we monitored and analysed the published and aired contents, focusing primarily on the aspects of coverage of this subject matter and the overall tone of the reporting.
Media coverage of the work and activities of the Office of the Ombudsman was neutral and aimed to inform. Journalists presented the information, statements and releases issued by representatives of the Office of the Ombudsman, without further journalistic engagement.
In spite of the fact that, during the period covered by this report, the Ombudsman was very active, especially in the context of Elections, rights of children and refugees, some media dedicated very little coverage of its activities. The pro-government media proved especially selective in their approach. They didn’t publish any information critical of the situation of human rights and state institutions’ treatment of citizens and their rights and freedoms.
During the reporting period, primetime newscasts of the TV stations carried the fewest number of reports – just 15 percent of the total coverage. The situation is somewhat better on TV broadcasters’ websites, which carried 21.7% of the total number of articles. That trend to have more information published on the websites than aired in the main newscasts of TV broadcasters is a cause for concern, having in mind that their primary and most numerous audiences is the one that watches the news on their TV screens.
News websites published 35% and newspapers published 28.3% of the total number of articles dedicated to the work of the Ombudsman.
Broken down by type of media, it is evident that TV broadcasters dedicated the least coverage to the Ombudsman in their main newscasts, while news websites dedicated it the most extensive coverage.
The analysis of the published materials also shows that the pro-government media, including the public broadcasting service, demonstrated little interest to report on the work and activities of the Ombudsman. As a result, the visibility of the work of the Ombudsman and its public influence were secured mainly by the critical/independent media.
Complete text of the report: The Ombudsman in the Media