Monitoring of Russian propaganda
The National Broadcasting Council presents a research report on the news and current affairs broadcasts of the main national television channels of the Russian Federation in 2015. The report was presented during the first Eastern Partnership Media Conference, which took place from 19-20 May 2015 in Riga.
A discussion of the report with guests will be held during the INFO Newsroom broadcast on TVP Info channel, 12 September at 9:15 PM.
The report is the result of monitoring conducted from 1 to 31 March 2015 on eight Russian television channels, with the aim of assessing the ways in which they present international and national topics. The analysis was conducted by the Slovakian non-profit media-monitoring organization MEMO 98 (which has been carrying out similar projects in other countries for the past 16 years), Internews Ukraine and Yerevan Press Club, the Independent Journalism Center in Moldova, the Yeni Nesil Journalists Union of Azerbaijan, the Belarusian Association of Journalists, and the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics.
The document was created thanks to the support of the Secretariat of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF), the European Endowment for Democracy (EED), and the National Broadcasting Council.
The monitoring covered 8 leading Russian television channels: Channel One, Russia 1, NTV, Russia Today, TV Rain, Euronews (Russian-language television service), RBK, First Baltic Channel (broadcasts by selected Russian-language stations - video). The analysis concentrated on the amount of time devoted to each topic as well as the tone of broadcasts concerning important political issues (positive, neutral or negative). Qualitative analysis was performed on the channels with regard to ethical and professional standards, such as balanced coverage, accuracy, topicality, selection and ranking of topics, omission of information and use of hateful language.
Main characteristics of the media
The analysis revealed that the main aims of Russian television in the period in question were primarily to present Ukraine as a bankrupt nation (as a result of Euromaidan and the events it brought about), condemn the policies of the United States for “violation of the principles governing international relations”, as well as create an image of the European Union as being led from Washington and criticise its activities as going against humanist principles and common sense.
Clear bias was shown in news and current affairs programmes, violating the principles of journalistic objectivity, showing open sympathy for one side and hatred towards the other.
Reportage and interviews were dominated by the positions and opinions of representatives of the Russian authorities. Even if information from other sources was included, the length of the texts or commentary cited was disproportionally shorter than that of those supporting the positions of the Russian state.
News programme anchors and journalists mixed facts with their own opinions, often presenting their own assessment of facts and events. Talk-show hosts, anchors and reporters presented a uniform position on nearly all important issues, supporting the official views expressed by the Russian authorities on national and international topics.
Various manipulation techniques appeared in the analysed programmes, including presentation of false information, selective reporting of information, lack of transparency and trustworthiness of sources, promotion of a version of events meant to disrupt the sequence of cause and effect resulting from the established course of events, use of stereotypes, fuelling an emotional response, fear-mongering, and demonisation of the opposition. Information was manipulated through images as well as sound.
The monitoring demonstrates that the specific characteristics of Russian media campaigns are not the result of a temporary deviation from the rules in the programmes presented, but reflect consistent and long-term tendencies. They result, in particular, from the fact that the editorial policy of these programmes is determined by the interests of the current Russian authorities rather than those of the viewers.
1. Monitoring of Russian television channels 2015 - report
2. Monitoring of Russian TV propaganda 2015 - presentation.
3. Broadcasts by selected Russian-language television stations - video